14 June 2016
24 March 2014
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"I Need You by George Harrison"
20 August 2013
I love that video. I wonder what the Beatles thought of it when they first saw it.
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Check here for "how do I do this" guide to the forum. (2017)
24 July 2018
Watched. Something else off the bucket list. The copy I was able to find had fitful audio/video sync issues, but it was otherwise satisfactory.
They're not at each other's throats nearly as much as the film's reputation would lead someone to believe, and the gloom and negativity of the experience would not be apparent to me if I didn't know to go looking for it. There's only a little bit of bickering on camera.
A lot of the playing and singing is ragged, but then, these are rehearsals, sometimes of songs they're doing for the first time or very early in the process. I'd imagine anyone seeking this out knows how all the songs turned out in their final form, and that these rough drafts were not the last word.
McCartney is a bit of a nag, and may say more words than the other three put together. On the other hand (take this from an admitted Apaulogist from way back), his instincts for arrangements and production were usually very good in those days. Whether you loved or hated "Maxwell's Silver Hammer " or "Two of Us" or "I've Got A Feeling " (all worked on here), they always sounded spiffy when he got them just so. And, bless him, he obviously still cared. He doesn't do one thing in all 80 minutes that suggests to me indifference or being "over it." Of course, the whole project was his idea, as so much from 1967 onward was, so I suppose he should have cared.
The film is fun to watch and now part of history, but it would have been better with some shaping. This is a matter of taste, but I don't care for the fly-on-the-wall style, as opposed to something more disciplined and organized. There is a narrative of sorts here: they rehearse, they rehearse some more, and then they play on the roof. But nearly the whole first hour is disjointed and meandering. You can only tell a bunch of different days have been cut up and jammed together because the clothes change abruptly. Some of the footage is interesting or cute; some of it is tedious. I'm coming to this film backwards from the vantage point of something like The Last Waltz. Not everyone loves that film as much as I do. The late, great Levon Helm, one of its stars, didn't. But it's obviously the work of a master filmmaker who shows us great performances and also interviews the musicians and sequences everything to contextualize those great performances. This isn't so ambitious.
The famous rooftop performance is wonderful; I'm so happy now to have seen it in its entirety. Even with Lennon's recourse to gibberish lyrics in the middle, this performance of "Don't Let Me Down " is even warmer and more soulful than the official recording.
Those man/woman-on-the-street reactions are the best thing with which we can credit Lindsay-Hogg, in my opinion. It struck me while watching it, not just in the close-ups but in the longer shots of the masses on the sidewalk, that even the most meticulous period film cannot capture a time and place to match the real thing as we see here. Wow...London in winter of 1969. Young people who are old now, old people who are probably long gone. The fashions, the attitudes, the vernacular. People witnessing musical history, some enraptured and others annoyed. Precious.
Flawed though it is, this does deserve a proper reissue. I don't hold out hope.
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