Filming: Magical Mystery Tour

Paul McCartney, Mal Evans and cameraman Aubrey Dewar were woken at 3.30am by a taxi driver, who had been hired to take them to locations in Nice where they could film a sequence for ‘The Fool On The Hill’ for Magical Mystery Tour.

Paul McCartney in Magical Mystery Tour's sequence for The Fool On The Hill, 1967

We just asked the local taxi driver, ‘Where is a good place to see the sunrise from?’ Nice was fairly easily accessible. It had good mountain scenery and I figured we might get a good clear sunrise down there. It was the right time of the year. We all piled in the taxi and drove up into the mountains behind Nice. It took us about an hour and sunrise was in about half an hour. We unpacked the stuff from the boot, loaded up his camera, set up the tripod where we knew the sun would rise, and waited in the freezing cold. I had a big long black coat on and we just waited until the the sun arose. And I just danced around and he filmed it.

I just ad-libbed the whole thing. I went, ‘Right, get over there: Let me dance. Let me jump from this rock to this rock. Get a lot of the sun rising. Get a perfect shot and let me stand in front of it.’ I just had a little Philips cassette to mime to and roughly get the feeling of the song. There was no clapper because there was no sound. Just my cassette. I said, ‘We’ll lay in the sound of “Fool on the Hill” afterwards.’ I’m miming sometimes, but of course it should be in synch, that’s what clappers are for. I didn’t know these small technicalities, and also I wasn’t that interested in being that precise.

We stayed until the sun went down. As the day went on, the light got worse. It got to be harsh daylight, so we got less material in the daytime. We basically used all the dawn stuff. And that was it. It was very spontaneous, as was the whole of Magical Mystery Tour. Later, when we came to try to edit it all, it was very difficult because I hadn’t sung it to synch.

We shouldn’t have really had just one cameraman, it was anti-union. That was another reason to go to France. The unions wouldn’t have allowed it in Britain, nor probably in France, but they didn’t know we were doing it. It was just the four of us; there was none of this grips, best boy, gaffer, none of that. In fact, our biggest danger was that the film didn’t conform with one union rule.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

McCartney, Evans and Dewar returned to England on 1 November 1967.

Last updated: 29 October 2018
Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
Mixing: All You Need Is Love, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
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