It begins in 1963, during the embryonic days banging away in England’s small clubs (with some gorgeous color footage of the lads singing “She Loves You”) and on through the giddy, triumphant U.S. “invasion” in 1964. 1965 brings stadium shows, as much for security reasons as to accommodate the number of fans. The film wraps up with the drudge of the 1966 world tour, where, after its last show ever, the world’s biggest band is shoved unceremoniously into the back of an armored van.
All the archival footage is supplemented by explanatory interviews, some of them archival and others, including from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, contemporary.
Viewing the footage in the 21st century is a gas: How impossibly young the Beatles look, and how utterly and delightfully mad their crazed fans are. (“Their hair!” shriek several girls.) Our more seasoned eyes also take in how the media scrambles to cover a cultural phenomenon that is exploding faster than they can process.
But what’s paramount: how cheeky, fun and talented the Beatles were. These years are well worth a revisit.
The doc is followed by a 30-minute film of The Beatles’ Aug. 15, 1965, concert at New York’s Shea Stadium.
Starts Thu., Sept. 15. Hollywood Theater.