I think I have covered a lot regarding The Beatles except this one area, their films. It is not common now as it was back then for a music artist to do films. The Beatles also made four films and one documentary.
A hard day’s night (1964)
Directed by Richard Lester
The first film they made was this documentary-style film following a day in the life of The Beatles. What the writers did was give each Beatle a personality based on interviews they saw or things they said, and exaggerate it a bit. The characters around them include managers, tv producers as they are set to make a television appearance, and Paul’s grandfather that makes all sorts of trouble. The Beatles succeeded in doing an original and fun film. The songs included were among their best at the time with songs like “Can’t buy me love”, “A Hard day’s night”, “I should’ve known better”, “Happy to dance with you”, “Tell me why”, “And I love her” and “If I fell”.
Directed by Richard Lester
For the second movie, The Beatles went for a film with a plot not focused on Beatlemania. The movie begins with a sacrifice of a young girl that is stopped suddenly because she had to have a ring and that ring was in the hands of Ringo Starr. They travel to England to either take the ring or sacrifice Ringo. It is a silly film in terms of the plot, but I love it, it is a simple fun movie, The Beatles themselves admit they are not actors so they did their best and it was enough. The songs, because the Beatles just progressed with each album, were even better, “Help!”, “You’ve got to hide your love away”, “I need You”, “The night before”, Ticket to Ride”, “Another Girl” and “You’re going lose that girl”. Victor Spinetti who also appeared in their first film is also in this film, and Eleanor Bron also co-stars in the film.
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Directed by The Beatles
For their third film, The Beatles wrote the story themselves and directed it. The story follows a group of people that take a tour filled with magic and surprises. It is a weird film no doubt but is it bad, not really. It is an artistic film that captures the times. What makes it worth it is the music, they serve as visuals for great songs as “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The fool on the hill”, “Blue Jay Way”, “Your mother should know” and “I am the walrus”. The movie was the first time a project failed to charm the public and I get why.
Yellow Submarine (1968)
Directed by George Dunning
This is my second favorite of their films. The Beatles had little to do with it other than serving as the inspiration for the characters and the story. It was inspired by the song Yellow Submarine, this animated movie is inventive, original and it is fun. The voices mimicking the English accent is so funny but it worked in the film. The images and animation I think were great. The music used for the film were from albums that were already released, only three songs were new or unreleased. “Only a northern song” was recorded for Pepper and not released until the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, “All together now”, “Hey Bulldog” and “it’s all too much” were the new songs. The other songs used are taken from Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper, and singles of those years.
Let it be (1970)
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
This was the last film they released while being active as a band. I can’t wait for the Peter Jackson version because I feel Lindsay-Hogg focused too much on the bad things that went on during the sessions that no one denies happened but there is also a lot of footage I have seen where they are having fun making music. The overall feeling achieved by Lindsay-Hogg was so depressing in all honesty. The performances some are great others not, but not because of the songs, but the way the film was edited. The rooftop concert is what makes this film priceless as we see The Beatles live for the last time.
After that many films and documentaries have been released, I will highlight The Beatles Anthology and Eight Days a Week.