Tag Archives: DVD

2012 ➤ Will the newly restored Magical Mystery Tour rewrite our view of the Beatles?

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Fabled charabanc outing in 1967: Find the Fab Four among fellow travellers on their Magical Mystery Tour. (Top left we see fanclub secretaries Jenni and Sylvia)

❚ ROLLING STONE CALLED IT “the most important rock’n’roll album ever made … by the greatest rock’n’roll group of all time”. Crowning the era of LSD-fuelled psychedelia in 1967 came Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Its impact was extraordinary. The Beatles’ eighth studio album marked the height of their rise to global fame. With Dick Lester’s pair of high-octane feature films behind them — Help! and Hard Day’s Night — the Beatles decided to go straight on to direct their own unscripted, improvised film and it backfired in their faces.

Magical Mystery Tour was a dreamlike story of the Fab Four taking a typically British daytrip by coach with friends and family and a cast of crackpot characters exemplified in the eccentric humorist Ivor Cutler. Their adventures were intended to be “magical” and indeed the I Am the Walrus sequence has passed into legend. Generations of British comics such as Monty Python point to the film as their inspiration.

Yet its TV audience greeted Magical Mystery Tour with outrage and derision. It was seen by a third of the nation on Boxing Day when an expectant family audience, hoping for some light entertainment, were confronted by a drug-rinsed shambles in festive prime time. Paul McCartney told the press later: “We don’t say it was a good film. It was our first attempt. If we goofed, then we goofed. It was a challenge and it didn’t come off. We’ll know better next time.”

The critical reception was so hostile that the film’s negative didn’t become properly archived, which makes tonight’s BBC TV premiere of its meticulous restoration, overseen by Paul Rutan Jr, a significant landmark. The new DVD with remixed 5.1 soundtrack is due to be released internationally on October 8–9, packed with special features.

What few of us remember is that, as well as its new Beatles songs, MMT gave a guest spot to the founding fathers of anarchic musical comedy, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, with Death Cab for Cutie, a spoof “teen tragedy” song from their own seminal 1967 album Gorilla. The Bonzos performed it onstage at the Raymond Revuebar as accompaniment to a stripper and the number turns out to be a show-stopper.

The mystery tour itself proves to be an affectionate travelogue about Britain’s quintessentially working-class hinterland (in the fish-and-chip shop, we hear marvellous strains of She Loves You rendered on a fairground organ). In contrast to his band’s reputation as fierce cultural pacemakers, McCartney concedes that “the whole film has a bit of a village fete atmosphere to it”. Even so, as deejay Paul Gambaccini remarks in a new Arena documentary also broadcast tonight, the film fizzes edgily with the very elements of advanced psychedelia the Beatles themselves had introduced into the culture. One surprise is Martin Scorsese saying this film influenced a lot of the work he has done! Restored to pristine colour, MMT emerges as a celebration of a defining moment in harmonic innovation and of the energy that made British pop glorious.

➢ Magical Mystery Tour Revisited: Arena TV documentary full of fab Beatles archive material never shown before — BBC2, 21:45, Oct 6

➢ The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour (1967): Fully restored with a remixed soundtrack, here’s the original surreal and utterly misunderstood film — BBC2, 22:45, Oct 6

➢ Arena’s series editor Anthony Wall tells Radio Times that the new documentary about the Magical Mystery Tour will see it deservedly re-assessed

❏ Tonight’s Mystery Tour screening is preceded by a real treat from Britain’s leading arts documentary team, Arena, who have rounded up much unseen footage.

Series editor Anthony Wall says: “The idea that there’s anything you don’t know about The Beatles is startling enough. But the film was, consciously or unconsciously, suppressed. The out-takes were in the Apple vault, which is deep below the streets of London in a World War Two-type bunker. Sleeping down there for many, many years.”

Wall thinks Magical Mystery Tour will soon be re-appraised as “a piece of work in a very surreal, British, literary, visual tradition: from gothic to Lewis Carroll to H G Wells to William Golding to the Goons to what became Monty Python.

“For practical purposes it’s not been seen since 1967. The documentary tells the story — which in retrospect is hilarious, although it wasn’t for The Beatles at the time because they got such a drubbing — and contextualises it by looking at 1967 and what The Beatles were responding to: in London it was a very intense time, artistically.”

The cultural shifts of that specific part of the 1960s are key to understanding Magical Mystery Tour, Wall says, which meant the new Arena film had to represent the trends of the time accurately. “Very few films about the 1960s get it right. They usually mix things up hopelessly. It’s very important when you use archive to be precise — try to get it to the month. It invariably looks earlier than it is. When you see ‘1967’ it’s usually footage from 1970! … / Continued online at Radio Times

➢ View video: Unseen footage from Magical Mystery Tour as part of The Arena Hotel online

➢ How the West Was Won, 1: TV doc on the British invasion that conquered America in the 60s — BBC2, 23:40, Oct 6

Magical Mystery Tour , Beatles, TV, DVD, Apple Films, Arena, Jenni Evennett , pop music, film,

Fan Jenni Evennett bunked off school: she is captured at extreme left in this clip from the Magical Mystery Tour, with Lennon centre, Ringo and Paul to the right. Videograb © 2012 Apple Films Ltd

➢ Hear how Sylvia Hillier and Jenni Evennett were invited on board the Magical Mystery Tour bus — Radio 4’s Saturday Live, from the 62-minute mark

❚ TWO BEATLES FANCLUB SECRETARIES recall how they hopped on board The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour bus at 7am one day in 1967 as special guests of the Fab Four. Sylvia Hillier was a 19-year-old receptionist in a factory who lost her job as a result, while 16-year-old schoolgirl Jenni Evennett bunked off school to join the week-long filming. They told this morning’s Saturday Live on Radio 4 that it was a bit like a “happening” where nobody was given lines or seemed to know what they were doing. Sylvia was dressed all psychedelic in orange, “my flower-power stage, with kaftan, flairs, bells and beads”. Jenni said that for continuity they couldn’t change for a whole week: “I wore a little brown spotted dress with white collar, bells and beads and lots of deodorant.”

Magical Mystery Tour , Beatles, TV, pop music, film, Sylvia Hillier

Fan Sylvia Hillier from Bognor: seen here with Paul McCartney, she lost her job by ducking out of work to join the 1967 magical bus tour. (Pic from Facebook)

Magical Mystery Tour , Beatles, DVD,  Apple Films, Arena, Anthony Wall, pop music, film,

Sylvia seen aboard the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour bus in the Arena documentary. Videograb © 2012 BBC & Apple Films Ltd

➢ 1966, More popular than Jesus: the Lennon interview


➤ Digital beaver grills the stars of The Inbetweeners Movie

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On video: clockwise, Blake Harrison, James Buckley, Joe Thomas and Simon Bird with his hand up the beaver. (Video grab from Digital Spy)

❚ THE BEST INTERVIEW YET with The Inbetweeners plugging their film from the TV series went online today. Cue the movies editor at Digital Spy

For the past few months, Digital Spy HQ has been home to a stuffed hand puppet. A beaver, to be precise (something to do with a Mel Gibson movie). With The Inbetweeners Movie hitting cinemas this week and with stars Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison in interview mode, we thought we’d utilise our new furry friend on camera. Filling the animal with some bizarre questions, we got Simon, Joe, James and Blake to pluck the queries from the beaver…

➢ View video of The Inbetweeners answering the
beaver’s questions at Digital Spy

➢ View more videos on location with The Inbetweeners in Malia

➢ Update: The Inbetweeners Movie will be released on DVD Dec 12

Inbetweeners Movie, premiere, London, films,

Our lads at their premiere: three out of every four Inbetweeners wear a tie, shock! (PA)

Inbetweeners Movie, premiere, London, films,

Eagerly anticipated at the premiere: Will’s Mum (Belinda Stewart-Wilson – Wenn photo) and Neil’s Sister (seemingly a no-show by cricketing WAG Kacey Barnfield)


➤ Martin Kemp’s Stalker set for autumn release

Martin Kemp, Anna Brecon, Black & Blue Films, Stalker

Martin Kemp turns manic murderer? No, just directing his star Anna Brecon on the set for Stalker

❚ WONDERING WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO Martin Kemp’s debut as a horror movie director? Keen readers of Shapersofthe80s will recall a video interview last summer in which Spandau Ballet bassist Kemp discussed his movie mogul plans for the production company Black & Blue Films. Now Variety reports that the Hammer-style psycho-drama Stalker will be the first release this autumn on B&B’s own DVD label. [Update August 25: Stalker gets two cinema premieres, Oct 7 in Manchester, Oct 15 in London, and goes on general release October 10.]

Kemp’s partner, 30-year-old producer Jonathan Sothcott who was previously head of programming for The Horror Channel, said: “I have always intended to grow Black & Blue into a mini studio.” His indie outfit recently announced a nine-film co-production deal with Soho based post-production company The Mews, and it will include the upcoming horror spoof Strippers Vs Werewolves as well as Stalker. The DVD arm is being launched in the UK with indie distributor 4Digital Media.

Stalker is about a best-selling author, played by TV actress Anna Brecon, who moves into an old dark house to get her creative juices flowing. “People start dying,” says Sothcott and Kemp adds: “All in one house. That’s a good premise for low-budget film.”

Sothcott told Dread Central: “We had an amazing cast — a bona fide Hollywood star in the brilliant Jane March, a versatile leading lady in Anna Brecon, and a really offbeat turn from Billy Murray as a slippery journalist. And Martin directed them all with real skill, drawing out subtle performances of the type you don’t often get in this genre.”

Stalker, Martin Kemp, Black & Blue, DVD,cinema release, horror movie

Poster for Stalker: due for October cinema release in the UK. (Publicity photo by Harleymoon Kemp)

➢ View the trailer for Stalker

➢ Update: Behind-the-scenes pictures of Stalker

➢ Update: Interview with Stalker producer Jonathan Sothcott
at aintitcool


➤ Morrissey detonates bidding war for his memoirs

❚ A NEAT OUTCOME RESULTED from last week’s Radio 4 interview with Morrissey, former singer with The Smiths, the UK’s leading indie band of the 80s, who broke up in 1987. After the reluctant interviewee said that he was “very very surprised to be making music today” he added that, had his music career failed, “I would have become a novelist”. He then revealed that he had written his memoirs and was in the progess of redrafting his 660-page manuscript. He dared to suggest: “I’d like it to go to Penguin, but only if they published it as a classic. I can’t see why not — a contemporary Penguin Classic — within the next year or so.”

Very Best of Morrissey,CD,download, vinyl,Radio 4, Front RowBy Good Friday Penguin Books, creators of the modern paperback, were trying to head off a bidding war between rival publishers by announcing that it is indeed willing to publish his autobiography. A spokeswoman told The Independent: “There is a natural fit between Morrissey’s sensibility, his artistic achievements and Penguin Classics. A book could be published as a Penguin Classic because it is a classic in the making. It’s something we would like to discuss with Morrissey.”

There is no minimum time limit before a book can be considered a Penguin Classic, but the list embraces people or works that have “caused scandal and political change, broken down barriers, social and sexual”. However, a leading article in the same day’s paper pours cold water on the mighty ego of the singer they call Bigmouth: “Sadly for Morrissey, it’s the accumulated judgement of posterity, rather than authors, which determines what literature survives and what gets pulped.”

Nevertheless, according to The Independent report: “Morrissey is not short of suitors. The publishing director of Faber and Faber sent the singer an open letter begging him to join the ‘house of Eliot’, a reference to T S Eliot, the giant of 20th-century poetry. Lee Brackstone wrote: ‘We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it’.”

These events coincide with today’s UK release of a new album, Very Best of Morrissey, a 20-track download and CD of remastered solo classics (also as 18 tracks on vinyl, EMI/Major Minor). A bonus DVD, which includes eleven remastered videos (three of which are previously unavailable on DVD) including Boxers, Sunny, and The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, plus I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty taken from the Jonathan Ross TV show in December 1990.

As from tomorrow the 12-minute interview with R4’s Front Row is available on iPlayer. Morrissey deals briskly with pressing issues such as ageing (“many of the early songs were like mating calls and I have to think seriously about singing them now”), the problem of having the prime minister as a fan (“no I’ve never met him”) and, inevitably, a Smiths reunion (this is not the place for spoilers). And yes, Johnny Marr gets a mention.

Dermot O’Leary,Morrissey, interview,Very Best OfUpdate: Listen to favourably selected highlights from a frankly tiresome interview between a cranky Morrissey and a very patient Dermot O’Leary (BBC R2 on April 30, 2011) as the evasive singer winds him up while discussing their Irish roots and musical idols, a UK and Scandinavian tour, an album of new material and the “mutants” of Coronation Street. We hear two clips from his Very Best Of CD, Girl Least Likely To, and Interlude: The next day Moz told True To You why he had been so cantankerous: “I’m sorry I made the O’Leary radio interview so difficult but I was in a foul mood, having spent a full week surrounded by the royal dreading. England may very well be a Windsor dictatorship, but, PR weddings aside, it is usually quite bearable.” He also complains about his familiar views on the British monarchy being cut from the earlier R4 interview.


➢ Listed at True-to-you.net — Morrissey’s nine-date UK summer tour runs from Perth June 15–Plymouth June 30, plus Glastonbury Festival on June 24, and Hop Farm Music Festival July 2.


➢ Morrissey’s handwriting free from searchfreefonts
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