Monday, November 12, 2007
THE UNSEEN BEATLES
Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
The DVD case for this BBC production boasts rare and previously unseen footage and an intimate glimpse inside the phenomenon that was Beatlemania. Through interviews, personal photographs, and home movies, it would supposedly give the viewer a deeper insight into the band. Turns out that what is advertised and what is actually delivered are two different things.
This mini-documentary, clocking in at a scant 65 minutes, focuses on the early days of the group up until their final show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966, and attempts to shed some light on why they quit touring. It doesn’t. At least, no more than any of the other hundreds of thousands of movies, TV shows, and books covering the Fab Four. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad or poorly made film; it simply does not live up to its claims. It’s probably quite interesting, if you’ve either (a) never heard of The Beatles or (b) seen literally every single piece of archival footage concerning The Beatles but are still dying for more. It’s the type of thing you want to show a young kid who’s not familiar with the band, or perhaps a gift you’d like to give to the Beatles completist in your family. Maybe your younger brother Michael, who has heard a few songs and expressed a bit of interest in the band, or Uncle Ernie, who just has to have every single piece of Beatles memorabilia that has ever existed. Otherwise, I’d say don’t waste your time with this one. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been covered before, and more in-depth somewhere else.
The only real note of interest was this: despite the many interviews with roadies and press managers which claimed the contrary, I found these four lads from Liverpool to be anything but humble in the early days of their careers. In fact, the only real insight I gleaned from this little film was that these boys loved their hair, and loved to show it off. I speak, of course, of the “unseen” portion of the flick, which basically consisted of a few minutes of grainy footage of Paul backstage, smiling and running his fingers through his hair; John at poolside, his locks bobbing up and down as he shook his head with wild abandon; and Ringo in a hotel room, his hair flopping about as he manically gyrated his head. Make no mistake, The Beatles knew full well the vast quantities of power which perched atop their domes, and they loved to mug for the camera.
Extras on this disc include extended versions of all of the interviews used in this film, a photo gallery and that same grainy footage of The Beatles hamming it up.