It’s long and winding but Beatles’ film is captivating | Rick Jackson

I have been totally captivated by something on the streaming service Disney + and it’s not Mickey Mouse or even Star Wars.

By Rick Jackson
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:38 am
John Lennon and Paul McCartney after a trip to America to promote their new company Apple Corps,  May 1968. Picture: Stroud/Express/Getty Images
John Lennon and Paul McCartney after a trip to America to promote their new company Apple Corps, May 1968. Picture: Stroud/Express/Getty Images

It’s a documentary, with no narration, of three, two-hour episodes roughly edited together and recorded in a film studio at Twickenham in 1969.

There is some occasional text to tell you what is going on, but generally it’s just the rough footage and sound, luckily filmed in cinema-quality 16mm film.

It’s more a fly-on-the-wall documentary than a movie, but the shoot’s original purpose was to create a movie for the greatest band of all time – The Beatles.

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The film studios were hired with the plan to write a new album, rehearse the songs and perform them live, all in the space of two weeks.

These films were shot during all the rehearsals.

The original producer wanted the band to perform a live concert in Tripoli, Libya, in an ancient amphitheatre under torchlight with fans taken to it on the QE2! The band were having none of it.

Although six hours long, there are moments of pure joy and genius.

Such as… as Paul McCartney waits for John Lennon, who was running late – again, he jams on his bass guitar and the beginnings of the track Get Back are created.

The band split soon after the Let It Be and Abbey Road albums were released and many a story highlights the disharmony in the band and the supposed fights during these rehearsals. More of the truth is laid bare in these films.

Yes, there are moments of tension but only between McCartney and George Harrison, who quit the band during those sessions only to being persuaded to rejoin later.

What you do see clearly is the love Lennon and McCartney really had for each other as musicians. As we remember Lennon – yesterday was the 41st anniversary of his murder in 1980 – it’s such a shame those two never played together again.

You realise how this great band lost their way after the death of their manager Brian Epstein in 1967 and how important strong management is to bands, just ask Coldplay.

I shall never ignore those ‘Road Closed’ signs again

I’m afraid to say I am one of the fools who in the past has ignored ‘Road Closed’ signs on Stokes Bay Road, Gosport, when a storm overwhelms the road. I have sneaked past the gate, which only closes on one side of the road, and chanced my luck.

Two years ago, my car and others joining me, were engulfed by sea water as huge waves battered the already-broken sea defences. Later, my car failed and then engine malfunction notices kept displaying and the car was never the same again. I now heed the warning and, in our new car, turn around. Others don’t and disappear into mountains of spray, seaweed and shingle. Maybe Highways need to put barriers on both sides of the road to keep us numpties off it?

That naughty mug for my wife’s mum has to go back

Our family Secret Santa draw has been made and we have set a limit of £30.

This is a great way to save money, especially as my wife Sarah is one of four children and there are now several thousand grandchildren!

We have also made a pact not to waste that £30 on tat but to buy something of worth for the recipient.

However, this means I’ll need to return the mother-in-law’s plain white mug with the phallic object in the middle, to the novelty shop.

Shame, it would have really made my Christmas to see her face as she sipped her mug of tea on Christmas afternoon!

Oh, and the saucy monkey keyring has had to go back as well. What a shame.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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