Birth of the Beatles Film Details
Overview: An account of The Beatles during the Hamburg years, their signing with Brian Epstein and their inevitable rise during the early sixties.
Tagline: The excitement of being there when it first happened!
Review: Having just watched this film again from a 1998 showing off VH-1, I just had to comment. The first time I saw this film on TV, it was about 1981, and I remember taping it off of my mother’s betamax. It wound up taping in black and white for some reason, which gave it a period look that I grew to like. I remember very distinctively the film beginning with the song, “My Bonnie”, as the camera panned over a scene of Liverpool. I also remember the opening scene where Paul gestures to some girls and says, “Look, talent!” So it was with great irritation that I popped in my 1998 taped version and “remembered” that the film opens with “She Loves You”, instead of “My Bonnie”. When you see how slowly the camera pans vs. the speed of the music, you can see that “She Loves You” just doesn’t fit. Also, in this “later” version when Paul sees the girls, he says, “Look, GIRLS!”..and somehow having remembered the earlier version, THAT word just didn’t seem to fit, either. Why they felt they had to Americanize this film for American audiences is beyond me. Personally, if I’m going to watch a film about a British band, I want all of the British colloquialisms and such that would be a part of their speech, mannerisms, etc. Another irritation was how “choppy” the editing was for television. Just after Stu gets beaten, for example, the film cuts to a commercial break-LOTS of ’em. Yeah, I know it depends on the network, but it really ruins the effect of a film to have it sliced apart, as we all know. What some people might find as insignificant in terms of dialogue (and thereby okay to edit), may actually go the way of explaining a particular action or scene that follows. My point is, the “best” version of this film was probably the earlier version I taped from 1981, which just so happened to include the “Shake, Rattle & Roll” scene that my 1998 version didn’t. I started to surmise that there had to have been two different versions made for television, and a look at the “alternate versions” link regarding this film proved me right. That the American version had some shorter/cut/different scenes and/or dialogue is a huge disappointment to me and something worth mentioning if one cares about such things. Imo, ones best bet is to try and get a hold of the European version of this film, if possible, and (probably even less possible), an unedited version. Sadly, I had to discard my old betamax European version because I didn’t know how to convert it. All that aside, I found this film to be, perhaps, one of the best films regarding the story behind the “birth of the Beatles”. Being well aware that artistic and creative license is often used in movies and TV when portraying events in history, I didn’t let any discrepancies mar my enjoyment of the film. Sure, you see the Beatles perform songs at the Cavern that made me wonder, “Did they even write that back then?? I don’t think so”, but, nevertheless, I thought it was a great film and the performances, wonderful. The real stand-out for me, in fact, was the actor who played John, Stephen MacKenna. I just about fell in love with him. His look, mannerisms, personality and speaking voice seemed to be spot-on. He looked enough like a young John for me to do a double-take towards the end of the film when you see the Beatles performing on Ed Sullivan for the first time. I actually found myself questioning whether or not it was actual Beatle footage, until I saw the other actors in the scene. If you’re looking for a dead accurate history of The Beatles’ life and beginnings, you can’t get any better than, “The Beatles’ Anthology”, as it was “written” by the boys’, themselves. However, if you’re looking for a fun snapshot of their pre-Beatlemania days leading up to their arrival in America and you leave your anal critical assessments at the door, you can’t go wrong with the “Birth of the Beatles”–a MUST for any “real” or casual Beatle fan.
Duration: 104 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
Also known as: Birth of the Beatles,Beatles – Nasce um Sonho,Narodziny Beatlesów,La historia de Los Beatles y sus grandes conciertos,O thrylos ton Beatles,La nascita dei Beatles,I Want to Hold Your Hand,A Beatles születése,Zrození Beatles,Näin syntyi Beatles,El nacimiento de los Beatles