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The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit

4.6 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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(Feb 03, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Maysles' Brothers' groundbreaking 1964 documentary! The Maysles got access to the Beatles off-guard and off-duty, from hotel rooms to nightclubs to press conferences, documenting the most explosive pop culture phenomenon in history; this DVD adds a 50-minute Making of the Beatles First U.S. Visit featurette that includes unseen footage and a new interview with Albert Maysles, who provides audio commentary for the original feature. Also here are the Beatles' three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and excerpts from their Washington Coliseum concert.

From the Back Cover

The Ed Sullivan Show (NYC #1)
1. All My Loving
2. Till There Was You
3. She Loves You
4. I Want To Hold Your Hand
The Washington Coliseum Concert
5. I Saw Her Standing There
6. I Wanna Be Your Man
7. She Loves You
The Ed Sullivan Show (Miami)
8. From Me To You
9. This Boy
10. All My Loving
The Ed Sullivan Show (NYC #2)
11. Twist And Shout
12. Please, Please Me
13. I Want To Hold Your Hand

Special Features

  • "The Beatles First USA Visit" - 81 minutes (black and white footage)
  • "Making of  Feature" - 51 minutes (color footage of Albert Maysles and b/w footage of outtakes from the original production.)

Product Details

  • Actors: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Cynthia Lennon
  • Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Kathy Dougherty, Susan Froemke
  • Producers: Susan Froemke, Neil Aspinall, Ron Furmanek, William Dever
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Capitol
  • DVD Release Date: February 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018D2X8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Much has been written and seen about the Beatles landing in America. After winning many fans over worldwide prior to February of 1964, the Beatles were ready to conquer the U.S. although they were not quite prepared for the overwhelming response they received once they arrived. Originally intended for a UK audience, the Maysles brothers' documentary follows the Beatles from the very moment they landed at JFK airport until they departed for home some two weeks later. Included are highlights from the Beatles' performances on the Ed Sullivan Show as well as portions of their first American concert at the Washington Coliseum. Behind the scenes footage from the hotel rooms, the Peppermint Lounge (for a night on the town), press photo shoots, and on the train to (and from) Washington, D.C. give an idea of how amazingly close the Maysles brothers were to the center of it all. Their landmark style of creating documentaries provides an amazing "fly on the wall" perspective. There is no narration and there are no formal interviews. The film lets the event speak for itself as it captures the action quite naturally and spontaneously. Nothing is staged and the film provides a most intimate look at the Beatles' interaction with each other as well as with the excitement of Beatlemania. For those of us born too late to witness and experience the mania, this is our link to the past and a glimpse at the beginning of a very important revolution in pop music and culture.
The re-release of this noteworthy documentary provides a noticeable improvement over the original version. There is now an audio commentary by Albert Maysles. Furthermore, there is a 51-minute interview with him which includes his presentation of a handful of outtakes from the original film.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is an engaging documentary of The Beatles' first U.S. visit. What makes it so fascinating are their performances on the Ed Sullivan show, which are captured here. Digitally remastered, this early television footage has been expertly restored, enabling the viewers to see and hear The Beatles, as they first appeared on American television.

Cheeky and exhuberant, The Beatles, occasionally off key but having the time of their lives, have not lost the capacity for knocking the socks off the viewer, as they are brimming over with vitality and the joy of life. They are truly wonderful to watch, as well as hear. Fortunately, the video covers all their performances on Ed Sullivan, and what a treat they are! It is sad to think that already two of them, John and George, are no longer with us.

The film documents a more innocent and simple time. It captured The Beatles on the threshold of international fame. It memorialized for all time their first U.S. visit with footage shot in railroad cars, hotel rooms, and limousines. Some of it is somewhat self-conscious, and some of it is playful fun. It also memorialized the reactions of their fans. The film is a daily cinema verite testament to that first visit.

This is a very good documentary that is well worth having soley for the performances of The Beatles. There are over thirteen of them, and the tracks have been digitally remastered for your listening pleasure. Overall, however, the documentary lacks some cohesion, due to the cinema verite nature of the film. Still, it is a worthwhile documentary to have, if only for those wonderful Ed Sullivan performances. If one wants a historical overview of The Beatles, one may also wish to view the more in depth and complex documentary, "The Compleat Beatles".
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By A Customer on January 28, 2000
Format: DVD
Wow! Is this really a documentary? Were the Beatles really that witty, charming and off the cuff? The answer to both questions is yes! Actually, this shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hard Day's Night was really very close to the real thing: A Day In the Life of the Beatles in early '64. However, this documentary takes nothing away from a Hard Day's Night. They are both absolutely brilliant on their own terms. Lester does things in the movie that transcend what a documentary can do (the fabulous escape "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence, for one of many). However, you don't need to be a Beatle fan to appreciate this great documentary. Unless you have no interest in this very interesting time in history, you will find this extremely...well... ...interesting. How lucky we are to have this unique event so brilliantly preserved for posterity. The Maysles brothers were visionaries! If you have any interest in why the '60s were such a remarkable decade,don't miss seeing this! Holds up very well to repeated viewings.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The most valuable thing that the Beatles had was their extraordinary songwriting ability.|
Oh, yes, they had many other great cards to play, but their songwriting was their ace of spades. To use a sports analogy, their songwriting ability was their Babe Ruth or Wayne Gretzky in their lineup of formidable talents.
This video shows this. It shows the Beatles showcasing songs that collectively run circles around their competitors.
Yes, occassionally a group or artist will come out with a song that can hang with the calibre of those of the early Beatles, but NO ONE or NO GROUP has had an output of such relentless quality in such a condensed time frame.
This isn't recognized enough, in my opinion.
But, had these magnificent sonic blueprints that the early Beatles created not been properly handled, the Beatles' impact would have been far less. We can all be thankful that the songs were delivered with infectious joy and cheekiness and feeling. We can count ourselves very lucky that the Beatles had great vocal gifts, especilly for harmonizing. We can consider ourselves fortunate that Brian Epstein "cleaned them up" for public viewing (in matching suits, and so forth). We can thank ourselves that they weren't "neat freaks" about letting a little rawness into their musical execution. There are untold numbers of talented band musicians with superb execution, but where has that gotten them? Up to a point, reasonably crisp execution is necessary; but beyond that, it runs the grave risk of impeding the flow of more important things, such as joie de vivre. The Beatles were not at all guilty of blocking the flow of joy, of generativeness.
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Topic From this Discussion
The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit - rating?
There is nothing objectionable here. I think the "worst" thing is footage of them smoking, and your tweens have probably seen plenty of that on TV/in movies.etc.
Sep 28, 2015 by Taylor T. Carlson |  See all 2 posts
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