The Beatles movies are probably the less known part of their artistic heritage. However, the movies made by The Fab Four were not only very popular at the time but they also went on inspiring many more films to come.
Now Peter Jackson, the director of famous Lord of the Rings movies, is taking on the raw footage of the Let It Be recording sessions, ‘The Beatles – Get Back’.
In September 2020 Jacksons new movie will come to the cinema. In other words, it shows previously unseen material of the last time The Beatles recorded together.
For this reason, this will celebrate 50 years of the last Beatles album Let It Be. Here is an overview of the original The Beatles movies.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
In this ‘mockumentary’ the four Beatles play alter egos of themself. Certainly, the plot is reminiscing the hectic touring lifestyle of the band as well as the craziness of The Beatlemania.
The movie was directed by Richard Lester, an up-and-coming movie director at that time. By any means, A Hard Day’s Night is a black and white movie that features the band’s journey from Liverpool to a Londoner TV show.
It features The Beatles playing a couple of songs from the album A Hard Day’s Night. What is more, the movie manifested certain characteristics of each band member that became very popular with fans.
For example, John Lennon is acting as ‘the smart one’, McCartney acts as the ‘the cute one’, George Harrison name is ‘the quiet one’ and finally, Ringo Starr is ‘the lucky one’.
A Hard Day’s Night was the first popular music film or jukebox movie. By all means, it became the blueprint for many more movie films as well as the music video format in itself.
The Beatles Movies – Help! (1965)
Help! is the second movie from The Beatles. In contrary to the first one, this is worked in colour film.
Again, Richard Lester was in charge of the production. Especially influenced by pop art visuals the movie also satirises the James Bond movies.
The plot revolves around the issues the band is having with recording the new album while being chased by an eastern cult. Particularly, the cult plus a pair of mad scientists are obsessed with the many rings Ringo Starr is wearing.
Likewise the first movie, the band again performs several songs from the eponymous album. What is more, Help! is a direct inspiration for the casted band The Monkees and their famous TV show in the US television.
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
The third film is actually a television production and not a feature film like the first two. Paul McCartney had the idea to the project when he returned from a trip to the Americans in 1967.
He had come across the story of author Ken Kesey’s LSD infused bus odyssey. The author of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest had participated in studies about LSD.
McCartney took this story and melted it together with the English tradition of tours of the countryside. In fact, originally shot in colour it was aired in black and white over the BBC.
In contrast to the previous movies, the Magical Mystery Tour did not receive good critiques.
Yellow Submarine (1968)
This is the first and only animated feature film of The Beatles. ‘The script, which was co-written by Merseyside poet Roger McGough’ was then animated by ‘Czechoslovakian animator Heinz Edelmann’ (udiscovermusic).
That means that there was only a small involvement of The Beatles. However, they featured four previously unreleased songs to the film.
‘All Together Now’, ‘Hey Bulldog’, ‘Only A Northern Song’ and ‘It’s All Too Much’ were first released with Yellow Submarine.
The film “gave birth to modern animation”Josh Weinstein, writer for The Simpsons
The Beatles Movies – Let It Be (1970)
Let It Be is the last major film by The Beatles. Moreover, it shows the recording process for the last album Let It Be.
Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the footage was assembled in January 1969. Let It Be includes the famous rooftop-concert by The Beatles above Abbey Road studios.
This marks the last public performance by The Beatles ever. Notably, the songs played were ‘Get Back’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘One After 909’ as well as ‘Dig a Pony’.
The film also captures The Beatles perform ‘Two of Us’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘The Long and Winding Road’. Also, the tension between The Fab Four are rather visible in this documentary and the subsequent break-up is within one’s reach. It aired in 1970 when the band had already broken up.
The Beatles were pioneers in many areas, not just music. Important to realize, The Beatles movies are a strong testimonial to the broad artistic approach of the band.
They were really innovative for the time and tried out many different styles of filmography expressions. What is more, the lasting influences their work has until now shows the strength and depth of their creativity.
With Peter Jackson now taking care of the unseen footage of the Let It Be production, that means that the story of The Beatles is nowhere near over!