As a 12-year-old, I waited for this and couldn’t wait to watch it. The film started out with The Beatles about to take off to America…and then flashed back to 1961 and followed them until their Ed Sullivan appearance. It was made by Dick Clark Productions. There is a Pete Best slant to the film…with good reason. They used Pete as an advisor and you can tell. Many things slant his way.
For a fan like me, some things bother me about it…like The Beatles in Hamburg playing “Don’t Bother Me” which wasn’t written until at least 2 years later (I just looked up trivia in IMDB and this was listed…so others noticed). They mixed some facts around and left some out but with the length of the movie, they could not include everything. When making a movie about someone, events will get exaggerated and some things made up.
The movie I would make would be around 10 hours long and heavily detailed…in other words unwatchable by the general public.
I did like the spirit of this film and the actor playing John Lennon (Stephen MacKenna) I thought did a good job.
Overall it was a good try for the time and the film did do the early Beatle highlights… Stuart Sutcliffe, Astrid Kirchherr, Hamburg, Brian Epstein, Cynthia telling John she was pregnant, Paul and Pete lighting the Cinema (though heavily exaggerated), the comedy of the Beatles, George Martin, Rory Storm, Aunt Mimi and more. The group “Rain” did the soundtrack and that is maybe the highlight of the film
It was the only movie about the Beatles made when John was still alive. John, Paul, George, and Ringo…the real ones…tried to get the movie stopped but were obviously unsuccessful. The film was released to theatres in Europe but on television in America.
There are wince moments throughout the film…when in 1961 Hamburg, you see a little of seventies clothing and hairstyles plus some rushed acting. It’s full of flaws but they were on a budget and they tried to highlight the big moments. It’s a fun watch anyway even though they did get some of the story wrong.
From Wikipedia, these are the songs that were performed in the movie. Below these songs is the movie from youtube.
- She Loves You – Opening titles version
- My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean)
- Oh Baby Doll – Performed by a different group at the Liverpool audition and not by the Beatles themselves.
- Dizzy Miss Lizzy
- Blue Suede Shoes – Performed by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
- I Saw Her Standing There – featuring Pete Best on drums
- Don’t Bother Me
- Johnny B. Goode
- Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Performed by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
- Roll Over Beethoven
- Kansas City
- Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
- Shake, Rattle and Roll!
- Ask Me Why
- Love Me Tender
- Twist and Shout
- P.S. I Love You
- Dizzy Miss Lizzy – Reprise, a different recording featuring heavier drums and a more raw-sounding guitar
- Cry for a Shadow
- Please Mr. Postman
- Long Tall Sally
- Love Me Do
- Rock and Roll Music
- I Saw Her Standing There – Reprise, featuring Ringo Starr on drums. The drumming styles differ between versions for story reasons
- Please Please Me
- Thank You Girl
- I Want to Hold Your Hand
- She Loves You – Ending titles version
The quality is not great but here is the movie on youtube.