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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years
Love and songwriting genius never die. Increasingly, modern bands seem to have a shelf life of months rather than years, but The Beatles have retained a rose-tinted hue in the public consciousness for more than half a century. Oscar-winning director Ron Howard's nostalgic documentary recaptures the giddy madness of Beatlemania by charting pivotal years in the development of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years opens with footage of a rousing rendition of She Loves You performed at the ABC Cinema in Manchester in 1963. The crowd hyperventilates and shrieks with ear-splitting delight every time McCartney shakes his sweat-soaked hair. Fans of the band will have a similarly euphoric reaction to this largely chronological account of The Beatles' live performances from the glory days of The Cavern Club in 1962 Liverpool to the rooftop of Apple Corps in 1969 London. As well as archive material, photographs and revealing testimonies, the documentary includes 30 minutes of a seminal concert at Shea Stadium in New York on August 15, 1965, which was captured using fourteen 35mm cameras by Ed Sullivan Productions and Brian Epstein. This lovingly restored and remastered footage of the group at the height of their powers is a treat. There are no earth-shattering revelations in Howard's film to set it apart from The Beatles Anthology, no shocks or surprises in the talking heads sequences with McCartney and Starr, the latter reminiscing fondly about his bond with the other members. "I'm an only child. I felt like, suddenly, I had three brothers," he recalls. The strict timeline permits segments devoted to The Beatles' forays into feature films with behind-the-scenes material from the Oscar-nominated A Hard Day's Night directed by Richard Lester, and some choice words about the trippy follow-up, Help!. "In all truthfulness, we spent a lot of that film slightly stoned," confesses McCartney with a twinkle in his eye. Screenings of the film on Thursday, September 15 include a live satellite transmission of arrivals at the red carpet premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, attended by the crew and some very special guests.