500 Days Of Film Reviews Documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week is director Ron Howard’s documentary about The Beatles' touring years, from the beginning of their career through to their decision to escape the mania for the refuge of the recording studio in 1967.
Is It Any Good?
Ron Howard’s documentary about The Beatles describes itself as the band you know and the story you don’t. This fascinating and entertaining film goes behind the scenes to explore what it was like to be at the very centre of Beatlemania.
The movie's full title, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years, leaves us in little doubt about Howard's focus. This film concentrates on the years that The Beatles toured around the world. It does not include much about what came before or transpired after.
However, the new interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, combined with older footage and photographs reveal so much about these four iconic musicians and the tours that became both a blessing and a curse.
The film starts at the beginning, with four gorgeous boys from Liverpool. The fun they have at this time is truly infectious. They are quick witted and smart and their early performances are electric.
The Beatles had incredible chemistry and to watch them playing live is a welcome reminder of their talent (the footage of Ringo Starr is particularly impressive).
What makes these performances all the more remarkable is the fact that they often couldn’t hear themselves or each other. In addition, they had just three roadies. At the height of their fame, we see Ringo desperately trying to move his drum platform around (by himself!) before a televised performance. It is just unbelievable.
Both off the stage and on, The Beatles’ friendship is clear. At different points in the film they all express gratitude at being one of four band members (unlike Elvis). They had each other to fall back on when things got crazy.
Of course, crazy is just how things got and Howard reminds us how intense Beatlemania became. Suddenly you realise that John, Paul, George and Ringo aren't having fun anymore. Under the most intense pressure, their spark starts to falter and the documentary's atmosphere changes.
From the thrill of The Beatles’ early performances, we now start to feel anxious for the band and, post his “we're more popular than Jesus” comment, John Lennon in particular. He describes the later stages of their touring years as being like a freak show and a circus.
No one can hear their music or appreciate their lyrics and, at the end of each concert, they are unceremoniously bundled away - often seconds from being torn apart by the hysterical crowds.
No wonder, then, that The Beatles decided to stop touring and concentrate on producing music in a studio - a place that, after all the madness, is a refuge for all four.
I was lucky enough to see The Beatles: Eight Days A Week on the big screen. It was a powerful and highly entertaining cinematic experience. However, this documentary appeared all too briefly in cinemas.
If this film does return to a big screen near you, I would recommend that you watch it there - it deserves the biggest screen and the best sound system possible.
Have you seen The Beatles Eight Days A Week?
If so what did you think of this documentary? Let me know by leaving a comment in the box below.