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By 1966 the Beatles had played over 1400 gigs, released 15 Number 1 singles, made 7 albums, toured the world 4 times and sold the equivalent of 200 million records. At the height of their popularity, without warning, they pulled the plug. They would never tour again. Previously unseen archive footage, photographs, personal home movies and interviews with those who accompanied the Beatles on tour tell the inside story of Beatlemania, its rise and fall. Touching and intimate, it's a story of chaos and comedy, of death threats, plane crashes, diplomatic wrangles, and ultimately disillusionment.]]>
Anyone with a passing knowledge of Beatles lore will recall that the group decided in 1966 to stop its many years of relentless touring with a final swing through America, focusing thereafter on increasingly experimental and accomplished work in the studio. The Unseen Beatles revisits the trail of life-threatening disasters that led them to give up the road for good, drawing on interviews with the Fab Four's associates (road manager Tony Bramwell, press officer Tony Barrow) and gathering a wealth of archival and personal film material. Various and familiar harrowing incidents--including stifling security measures in Japan to protect the Beatles from assassins and the group's nightmarish experience in the Philippines after enraging Imelda Marcos--are impressionistically recounted here. Perhaps more unique to Beatles fans is this BBC documentary's assertion that manager Brian Epstein could have handled touring resources better and been more creative about putting on safe, musically satisfying concerts attended by tens of thousands of people.
At times, the 50-minute The Unseen Beatles is too ambitious for its own good. Inadequate profiles of the personalities of John, Paul, George, and Ringo suggest how the Beatles grew apart as men. But in a show focused on the end of the band as a live act, The Unseen Beatles doesn't say enough about how the group's decision to end touring was fueled in part by individual needs for domestic life and to privately engage in intellectual, artistic, and religious pursuits. The program's musical score, including some of the most funereal sounds of Chopin and Mozart, is truly bizarre (occasional snatches of a generic Merseybeat sound are more appropriate). Famous faces from the Beatles' career--such as A Hard Day's Night director Richard Lester--linger on screen without even brief identification or acknowledgement. But despite these minor problems, The Unseen Beatles has a significant contribution to make toward understanding why the Beatles altered their priorities mid-career and freed themselves to make the likes of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. --Tom Keogh
- Extended interviews
- Photo gallery
- Rare footage of the Beatles in Jersey
Top Customer Reviews
There is indeed some "rare and previously unseen footage" in this DVD, but it struck me that it was "previously unseen" because whoever took it or considered it for air time realized it didn't inform or entertain very much. It didn't add anything new to our knowledge of The Beatles, their history or artistic significance.
As one of the aforementioned obsessive Beatle fans, I didn't learn anything new or gain any further insights into them. "The Beatles Anthology" video would tell this story (plus the story of the rest of their career) just as well or better, and from The Beatles' perspective.
For a more objective, outsider's perspective, I recommend two excellent books: the very enjoyable "Shout" by Philip Norman, and "The Beatles: The Biography" by Bob Spitz, which is well-researched, unflaggingly honest, and thoroughly detailed.
It has some great black and white footage and some really cute scences with the "Fab Four".
It is not the Best DVD on the lads I have ever seen and trust me I have lots of them in my Beatles collection of VHS and DVD's, but it is worth having. it is done well and it is very Clear. I really liked adding it to my Collection.
I was under the impression that this DVD was going to show the amateur footage from the last Beatles concert at San Francisco's Candle Stick Park that was filmed by a kid who was there all day long. It does show some of that footage, but the BBC documentary really explains the entire 1966 Beatles tour and how it was full of disasters.
There are present day (2007) interviews with people who were actually there including journalist Maureen Cleave who wrote the article that kicked off the whole Lennon "Beatles are bigger than Jesus" controversy back then.
It does show ample amateur footage, including interviews with the Beatles themselves from back then, and really explains why the Beatles finally decided to stop touring and playing concerts. They went through Hell in Japan and the Philippines, which is really the straw that broke the camel's back. It makes you wonder why so many corners were cut because they really had inadequate security, transportation, and the whole Tokyo debacle could've been avoided had Brian Epstein booked them at a different location. Anyway, once you watch this documentary you'll understand why Candle Stick Park was the last Beatle concert (until the very last one on top of the Apple building but that wasn't really a concert per se). The footage isn't the best quality, which is to be expected, but it's OK and won't interfere with viewing pleasure.
Again, the DVD is really interesting but I think if you're really looking for more quality stuff go with the The Beatles Anthology instead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was fun to see some of the interviews could not always understand what was said but loved their funny answers. Read morePublished 18 months ago by P Ciohon
it is part of my collection of beatles' info on who they really were/are. very informative. sometimes a little shocking.Published on January 9, 2014 by Pernell Fan5755
This is a good DVD for all Beatle fans. It really gave a closer look of what they were going through back then.Published on May 23, 2013 by Peace
I have so many beatles stuff. it was the magical time of my life. brings me back to such happy days.Published on December 13, 2012 by J wong
I have long awaited seeing this footage of the Beatles' Swan Song Concert in San Francisco and this film was well worth the wait. Read morePublished on May 3, 2008 by BeatleBangs1964