Following the touring band from Liverpool to France, the United States, Australia, and many more destinations, the film practically seats you on the experiential rollercoaster of being world-renowned and adored by millions.
This is achieved through the use of original images of Beatle performances and several recent interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and many other artists. 'Beatlemania' is shown to be more than a mere music phenomenon; it was a wave of popularity without precedence, encompassing adoration for the foursome's style, attitude, haircut – in short, everything the Beatles represented – that amounted to complete hysteria.
The constant scenes of screaming, crying, and fainting fans gives the viewer a glance of the band’s lifestyle during the touring years, and the film presents the dramatic extent at which the fame peaked, with even the police forces feeling overwhelmed. But the humour and wit of the band during amusing original interview footage reflects their nonchalance regarding their celebrity status: 'It’s not culture,' they say. 'It’s a good laugh.'
The strong camaraderie between Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Ringo is presented as more than friendship; the Beatles were brothers, united in all the decisions and strengthened by their unique experience of celebrity that only they could relate to at the time. Howard also shows the band's relationships that would shape their career, such as with manager Brian Epstein who effectively tailored the initial image of the Beatles.
The film also offers more than expected by tackling the issues of the time. The Beatles' rise is contextualised historically and geopolitically; from John F. Kennedy’s murder to the struggle of the Civil Rights’ Movement, crucial events are related to The Beatles and their performances. This offers an in-depth vision of not only the band’s evolution, but the challenges they faced and the controversies surrounding them.
Communication faux-pas, such as John Lennon’s comparison of The Beatles to Jesus, are explained from an insider’s perspective. The audience witnesses the build-up in expectations and mounting pressure suffered by the group's members, and it's impossible not to feel further sympathy and love for the four-piece.
Overall, Eight Days a Week is a must-see for all Beatles maniacs, and a worthwhile watch for those just curious of the band’s thrilling journey through the 1960s. The inclusion of unknown anecdotes and clever use of primary sources and interviews makes this a vital documentary that will certainly entertain its audience.
|What||The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
15 Sep 16 – 15 Nov 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|