Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

Review by Kate Douglas

From the band’s own commercial films to the countless documentaries and exposés that already exist, it’s hard to imagine that there isn’t an angle of The Beatles that hasn’t been shown to audiences yet, but Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years somehow manages to show the world’s most popular band through fresh eyes. The film is a wonderful mix of new and archived interviews from the four band members, perspectives from those who worked with the band, celebrities offering their personal anecdotes, and never-before-seen footage from Beatles’ shows. It’s not just a trip down memory lane for tried and true fans, even for those who lived through the band’s touring years. Howard manages to intertwine old footage with fresh narratives to create a new lens with which to examine Paul, John, Ringo, and George – and the men important to their success, Brian Epstein and Sir George Martin. There’s a wonderful moment in the film in which notorious Beatles manager Epstein is seen just off stage at one of the band’s American stadium concerts, bobbing his head to the music. It’s an illuminating moment in which the audience is allowed to pull back the curtain and experience these men in an entirely new way.

Eight Days a Week is a brilliant film as a rock-doc alone, but also as a historical piece. The film touches upon how the band experienced and interacted with the hot button issues of the time, from the band’s refusal to perform for segregated audiences when they brought their tour to America to the ill-spoken “more popular than Jesus” remark. Just as The Beatles themselves were able to weave together culture with counterculture, black with white, and male with female, Howard’s film knits a complex narrative that connects the band to history and humanity. It’s certainly worth a watch.

Kate Douglas

 Kate Douglas is a local writer and aspiring filmmaker. A transplant to New England, Kate grew up in North Florida and graduated from Florida State University.

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