The Beatles The First U.S. Visit Cover What do you call a documentary about a documentary? A docu-documentary? Or maybe something more high falutin like badabagoga? I wonder what John Lennon would reply to this question? Hmm? He would most probably tell me to f*ck off, before introducing this badabagoga that was Directed by the BBC, and Starring the Beatles and Albert Maysles. It lasts for 30 minutes, and was made in 2009.

The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit

This documentary is a about a documentary which documented the Beatles first US tour of America, in 1964. Is this documentary too much documentary for you to handle? The maker of the 1964 Beatles documentary doesn't think so. His name is Albert Maysles, and he is our tour guide in this tale.

You see, this tale start’s off as soon as the Beatles touch down on American soil, where they are greeted by the press, before being rushed off to their hotel room, to meet their biggest supporter, Murray the ‘K’, a local DJ. Next, is a whirlwind journey that takes this fledgling quartet to: (1) Central Park – where the group pose for pictures. (2) The Ed Sullivan show – where Albert is unable to film. (3) The peppermint lounge nightclub – where the Beatles let off a bit of steam. (4) The train ride to Chicago – where Albert starts to get to know the Beatles a little bit more. (5) The Coliseum – where the Beatles play in front of there adoring fans. And (6) Before finally coming back to New York City, and a fond farewell is given to all in sundry – and a hello to England.

Moreover, to help Albert chronicle his tale, are a plethora of archival footage (both from his film and those that were omitted from it) thus giving him the opportunity to express his insights on how the film was shot, as well as what he thought of the men he was chronicling.

Now all of this was good it seems, just as how this film was eventually received. Because in recent years, Albert, and his deceased brother who helped him shoot this film, was bestowed with an award on a job well done.

'Filming The Beatles First US Tour' is a documentary mainly for the hard core Beatles fans, who wish to know a bit more about a classic documentary chronicling their early career. It is not an expose piece by any stretch of the imagination, rather, it is a halcyon look back at yesteryear, where things where fresh and the climate congenial.

The Beatles in America

Now the narrator of this piece, Albert Maysles, is the most congenial of them all. Because he is able to express himself rather succinctly on the why, the where, and the how, within the overall narrative. Moreover, I have to say that I found Albert to be a really smiley old chap overall, and someone you wish could be your Granddad. He has a very nice disposition, an elderly charm, and really does come across to be a vert nice guy. Heck, by the end of this film, I was half expecting Albert to give me a mint to clear my breath (I had chilly), because he seems like that type of a man.

Albert Maysles

But what about this film? Huh? Any good? Yes, I think so. In a brisk fashion, it allows the 1964 documentary to do most of the leg work, whilst Albert gives his insights onto the way is was being shot, and what was being said.

I found that the most revealing segments were the few that were left out – like Paul ragging on Murray the ‘K’ – Ringo talking to the boy on the train – the band getting to know more about Albert’s equipment – and the death of Albert’s brother in the eighties.

Granted, no grand scandal was revealed in this film. But even if their was one, Albert does not seem like the kind of a chap to do the revealing.

The Beatles

'Filming The Beatles First US Tour' is a basic narrative that tells’ a segment of the Beatles early life, chronicled in black and white, whilst allowing a kind old man to reminisce about his early career. Now for that alone, I think that this is a great film. Nothing too in-depth mind you – just enough so you can get to know a little bit more about a band that helped shape a generation, as well as how documentaries used to be made back in the day.

Nice, just like Albert, agreed, Al?


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