32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2003
The Beatles Unauthorized is a 51 minute feature compiled by Good Times video of public domain Beatles material. The main part of this disc is devoted to The Beatles first US concert in Washington, DC. The picture is horrible and the sound is pretty bad too, at least on the concert segment. I'm sure if you were there that night, the sound would have been pretty murky too. There wasn't really equipment back then for bands to fill stadiums with sound. Bands or singers didn't fill stadiums. Nobody except Elvis had that sort of unearthly popularity and even he was dwarfed by the hysteria of the Fab Four.
Another amusing segment has an old game show called "I've Got a Secret" in which a person comes on and tells the host a secret and then the contestants have to figure out what the secret was that was whispered in the hosts ear by questioning. The person in question for this show is Pete Best, the Beatles ex-drummer. It's funny because he says that he QUIT the Beatles because he wanted to start his own band. In reality, he was fired.
The last major segment is an interview with the Beatles in 1966 right before Candlestick Park, their last tour stop. It's quite entertaining when one interviewer asks "Is the song 'Day Tripper' about a prostitute?" In fact, he should have been asking about what drug it was about!
Overall, this disc should only be bought by a real Beatles fan. The poor quality of the concert is nothing a casual fan would want. It's more of historical interest. So I guess if you want the gameshow bit and the interview at the end, its worth 5$. The sound and picture is television of the era quality which is decent.
I would recommend The Beatles Anthology over this. Also, Good Times has another DVD composed entirely of non-musical bits of the Beatles called Fun with the Fab Four. That disc is much better. Sometimes you can find both in a two disc set.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2004
If you have the Beatles Anthology, this is a waste of time and money. The bulk of the entire 51 minutes here consists of the Beatles February, 1964 in Washington, D.C. Most of that was already aired on the Anthology, and they used a cleaner, crisper tape source. Here the audio is terrible and the video is grainy, muted and washed out. There are no tight camera angles and everything is shot from a blurry distance. The entire footage from here is dreadful.
More interesting is the brief segment with Pete Best, from the American game show, "I've Got a Secret." Watching Pete and hearing him interact proves conclusively that Ringo was the right replacement for the boys. Not only could Ringo drum circles around Pete, Ringo's charismatic personality cemented the Fab's legacy. It's impossible not to love Ringo, from this footage it seems a stretch that Pete could ever have won a solid fan base, he's not funny, stiff, and has zero charisma.
The only decent bit on the entire DVD is some brief footage (not shown on the Anthology), of the Beatles right before taking the stage in August, 1966, at Candlestick Park. I bought this solely because I am a die-hard Beatlemanic and had never seen this rare footage before. It lasts only 70 seconds. If you're a hardened fanatic like me, you'll have to buy this DVD just for those previous 70 seconds. If you're just a casual fan, pass on this.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Why would I give five stars to a DVD set that isn't even out yet and I know nothing about? SImply to help the thing along. Although I saw the Beatles cartoon show when it initially aired, I had a chance to see a few episodes recently and was surprised at how great it was. I'll qualify that for those viewers who compare everything to films like Snow White that took thirty years to break even.
As most viewers know, TV animation had far smaller budgets, shorter deadlines and smaller staffs than the comparably large funding for lavish theatrical cartoons. Despite a few attempts at very short, limited-animation 'toons, usually shown by a live host to keep the cartoon segments short, nobody thought TV animation could really be done. Hanna-Barbera proved that it could be, but only by taking short-cuts, which is to say, cutting corners somewhere. Later Cartoon Network 'toons would parody the well-known H-B characters running past the same tree or barber pole ten times in an effort to reuse backgrounds and scenery.
Other studios took different tacks to limited animation. UPA developed a much-admired modern, graphic style. DePatie-Freleng, with the Pink Panther, came up with a style all its own. Jay Ward studios are instantly recognizable for Rocky and Bullwinkle, and so on.
Al Brodax came up with a very limited but compelling look for the Beatles in this popular series, and a simple but sure-fire formula: each episode is based around a Beatles' song. Al Brodax also made the later film, Yellow Submarine, awash with wonderfully psychedelic art and animation synched to numbers by the Fab Four. Whoever owns the copyrights to all those songs now, whether it's Michael Jackson or Yoko or Paul McCartney, would have to license these cartoons to appear on DVD. But hopefully, with Beatlemania resurging and interest in animation at an all-time high, they will soon do so, and let more fans (re)discover this light-hearted, good-natured cartoon.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2006
Save for some of the commentaries made by John Lennon's sister and the Beatles ex-chauffeur it is a totaly inept documentary, most of the people interviewed seam to be more interested in telling their story than that of the Beatles, if you are a Beatles fan you will learn nothing new. Particularly irritating is the background music which is not Beatles music (go figure!!!) but some cheap approximation, they probably did not have permission to use original Beatles songs. Spend your hard earned money on the Anthology if you don't allready have it
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2004
This DVD features three segments: the Beatles' 1964 Washington, DC concert, their 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert, and a press conference from their August 1966 final tour. In between segments you see a blue screen with music notes all over it, which looks like it was done on a home computer. Next comes the quality issue: I have bootlegs that look and sound better than this DVD. Then comes the issue of completeness: At least two out of the three shows (I'm not sure about the interview) are incomplete. Of the Washington concert, only 8 of the 12 songs are presented. I have a bootleg DVD with all twelve - including "Long Tall Sally." Of the Hollywood Bowl concert, 2 of the 10 existing songs are here. I have a bootleg of the entire performance. If you want the complete Washington concert, check out the Beatles Around the World DVD. As for the Hollywood Bowl, one other song is presented (and in much better quality too) on the Anthology. So after all that, why is my rating so high? Well, yes the quality is bad and the shows are incomplete, but there are few other places where you can legally find this material. So it may not be a bad buy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2007
My girlfriend and I were just discussing how violent some of the cartoons from our childhood were. Some of our favorites shows from childhood just don't seem appropriate for our kids.
Not the case here -- the Beatles cartoons are good clean fun! As someone else mentioned, the song portion of the show is reminiscient of the "Monkees' romps." As The Beatles' music plays, our Fab Four are often being chased by non-threatening bad guys. Silly but sweet.
Episodes would often end with Ringo delivering a very punny line, punctuated by his charming laugh -- "heh-huh -- yeah."
We wish these would get released soon!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2007
In my mind's memory, they were clever stories, good animation, full of Liverpudlian accents, and zany/campy madcap adventures, a la the Monkees.
In reality, they are goofy, campy, irreverent, and show evidence of being dashed off to cash in on Beatlemania. That's part of the charm. The "plots" are developed to frame the music, which of course is superb. Ringo sports an authentic sounding Liverpudlian accent. Some songs are used, like a music video, to illustrate a simple story. Others are played as a singalong, while the lyrics are displayed over the screen.
These really take me back to a simpler time in our culture. The caricatures of the Beatles' faces are cute, too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2007
Yes, the concert footage on this DVD is quite poor. But...
Besides concert footage, this DVD contains press conference footage from around the Rubber Soul era which I found very interesting. Far from the quick and witty Beatles of the first U.S. visit, here they look world-weary and tired. Their attempts at the zany, funny answers seem forced and half-hearted, and even the questions from the press are overly serious and even morbid ("Are you going through the IRS to pay taxes from the tour?", "What would happen if you weren't transported in an armored vehicle, do you fear you'd be physically harmed?")
There are a couple of songs from the farewell Hollywood Bowl show. Here again, the Beatles appear to have run out of enthusiasm, and the poor quality of the footage cannot explain away their tired and lackluster performance.
Juxtapose this with footage from a couple of years earlier, their first U.S. concert in Washington D.C., just days after their Ed Sullivan debut. Here, the Beatles are still in disbelief over how their fame has preceded them. They are forced to grapple with an appalling stage-in-the-round, where they have to alternate different sides of the stage, including turning the drum set around. But they still manage to sing their hearts out, and with an innocent enthusiasm. One funny for instance: John sings the wrong verses in "Twist and Shout", but Paul and George render the correct "answer vocals", and seem to get some amusement over the fact that it is obvious that John is singing the wrong words.
Also included is a Pete Best appearance on "I've Got a Secret". After his "secret" is uncovered, he explains that he quit The Beatles to do his own thing -- the real story now quite notorious, and no secret to any Beatles enthusiast!
The D.C. concert footage is notoriously bad, so I had no great expectations when I purchased this DVD. The fact is, I usually spend more on a sandwich than I spent on this DVD, so I have not complaints. It's an entertaining package for people who have already pursued other Beatle archive material -- but if you're looking for quality concert footage / documentary, I would highly recommend "First U.S. Visit".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2007
No, this is not the greatest Beatles compilation out there. But it's far from the worst. This is probably the best DVD release of the Beatles' 1964 Washington concert. Six songs are presented in full, plus the first half of "Twist and Shout" - it cuts off at the point where the film ran out. The quality is quite good on that portion. Next up is the Beatles' Hollywood Bowl concert footage. Good video quality, but very bad audio. However, the version of "Twist and Shout" here is not edited like it is on some of the bootleg versions I've seen. The final segment is the press conference from 1966. That is very interesting to hear.
I am giving this video 4 stars mainly because of the Washington concert. It is the best presentation of that concert yet. The rest of the video gets three stars, due to the lack of remastered quality.
In conclusion, this is a fair compilation, but it is not Anthology. If you don't have the Washington concert yet, get this. If you do, don't bother with this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
BURBANK VIDEO's 59 minute VHS of THE BEATLES is selling around the web for major bucks. Beware, cuz this one is low-grade in quality.
An SLP speed, plus multi-generational film clip dubs give a general murkiness and blur to what had the potential to be an interesting hour. Some of this footage is decidely rare, which just doubles one's frustration.
The documentary occasionally relies on glimpses of space launches and political events to represent the times, but for the most part we see lots of Beatles and actually hear their music. This accurate chronological story lacks only details about the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR fiasco, and curiously there's no mention of the WHITE ALBUM, despite a clip of John performing "Revolution." Just about everything else is here, though.
But these are minor quibbles, as is annoyance with a narrator who repeatedly says, "Brian EpSTEEN."
Despite its visual limitations (the tape has a strong HiFi audio track), this one's still recommended for Beatles fans. Where else can you learn that Ed Sullivan granted EpSTEEN's Beatles top billing on his TV variety show for a drastically discounted thirty-five hundred dollar per program fee, plus free hotel and airfare? Talk about a bargain!!