Great New Beatle-related Movie – “Yesterday”

Imagine you woke up one day and there were no Beatles.

No one you speak to has ever heard of them, and there are no references to the band or their songs online, in music stores, libraries, or anywhere. But….you can remember them clearly, and you know how to play their songs.

That’s the premise of an interesting new comedy movie coming out later this year called Yesterday. It comes from Danny Boyle (who directed Slum Dog Millionaire and Trainspotting), and Richard Curtis (the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually).

Jack (played by Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter who dreams of making it big, but his career is going nowhere. His biggest supporter is his best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, something mysterious happens. During some sort of global electrical blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus and wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Only thing is, he remembers them clearly, starts to perform their songs, and from there things really start to get interesting….

Yesterday looks like it will be real fun for Beatle fans. It is due in movie theatres on June 28.

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The Beatles, “Let It Be”, and Peter Jackson

Of course you’ll have heard by now that the multi-award winning film maker Peter Jackson has been selected by to re-cut the hours of Let It Be footage and audio from the winter of 1969 into an entirely new film.

We’ve been letting that huge news from last week sink in and percolate a bit – and have come to the conclusion that it’s a stroke of genius by the remaining Beatles and their Apple company.

We all know that the original Let It Be film has been languishing in the vaults for years, with seemingly no chance of unanimous agreement amongst the four-headed monster that controls these things (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison) that a re-issue – on its own – would ever get the green light.

But giving all the footage (over 55 hours of never-before-seen film and 140 hours of audio) to the Oscar-winning Jackson is something of a masterstroke.

First and foremost is the fact that Peter Jackson (who made the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) is a mad keen Beatle fan, and has been for decades.

Secondly, his most recent project – the documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old – has seen he and his team at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand, work wonders with the restoration and colorization of old photos and never-before-seen footage from World War I. The film was made to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

If you want proof of what they can do with footage and images from one hundred years ago just take a look at the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old. It is breathtaking:

The services at Park Road Post include: restoration from scanned film – scratch and splice fixes, de-noise, image sharpening, stabilizing, re-speeding and re-timing; grading – black and white and final colour grading of specialised colour created footage; and dialogue recording, Foley, and pre and final sound mixing and mastering. So they are very capable experts in their field.

As to the legend that The Beatles’ time together during the filming of Let It Be was entirely fraught and only shows a band in its final death throes, Jackson – who has seen all the footage – begs to differ: “I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth. After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”

This all points to what should be something very special being produced.

As to fans who were worried that the new film would take the place of the original Let It Be, that it would forever consigned to the Apple dustbin, well that seems not to be the case. A restored version of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s theatrical release is set to finally get its belated digital release “following the release of this new film”, according to Apple’s official announcement.

And, it’s kind of ironic that The Beatles once tried to obtain the film rights to The Lord of the Rings…..

Wonderwall – DVD and BluRay with Harrison Soundtrack

Collectors of Apple Records will know of the George Harrison soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall:Wonderwall LPWonderwall Label

The music for this LP was in part recorded in Bombay with Indian musicians and it was the first solo album released by any of the Beatles. Other players on the album include Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Peter Tork of the Monkees (uncredited).

Well, the movie has just been re-released on DVD and BluRay:Wonderwall BluRayIf you, like us, have never seen the film it might be the perfect time to rectify that. However, this film looks pretty 1960s trippy. It may or may not be something you’ll want to add to your collection. Try these three short official promo extracts from the current release to get a feel for it:

Hmmm……after viewing that one the George Harrison album cover makes more sense….

And this older one:

 

A Hard Day’s Night Re-Issue Coming Soon

http://www.criterion.com/films/28547-a-hard-day-s-night

Criterion Films have announced a new re-issue of the Beatles A Hard Day’s Night film. It will have a new cover:Hard Days Night coverHard Days Nigh Rear cover

And will come in two versions – a DVD only, and a “dual-format” 3 disc box set edition which combines DVD and BluRay versions. What you’ll get is:

  • A new 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with two audio options—a monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records (which Giles Martin worked on) — presented in uncompressed monaural DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray (dual-format only)
  • Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew (dual-format only)
  • In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos
  • You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson
  • Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others (dual-format only)
  • New piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director (dual-format only)
  • The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan (dual-format only)
  • Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing (dual-format only)
  • New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One (dual-format only)
  • Deleted scene (dual-format only)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton
  • The film will be in a 1:75:1 aspect ratio, which is how it was originally shown in movie theatres in 1964
  • The re-issue is due for release on June 24