Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Beatles Come To Town (1963)

The Beatles Come To Town was filmed by news film agency Pathe in Technicolor and Cinemascope, possibly their only project in this format. The film wanted to show what happened when a town, in this case Manchester, was hit by the new phenomenon, Beatlemania. The day was the 20th of November 1963. The footage shows the Beatles at a press conference, in their dressing room, and singing "She Loves You" and "Twist & Shout" at the ABC Ardwick.
Barry Tyler from London reminisces: "I believe this was the special edition of Pathe Pictorial wholly devoted to a live performance by The Beatles. It was in colour and was the only time I know of that Pathe used the Cinemascope format. I think it was in 1964 when I was working as a projectionist (Cinematograph Technician) at the Warner Cinema Leicester Square and we were instructed to hold the showing of Pathe Pictorial as it was being replaced."
"... It was probably the best film ever made in the Pathe Pictorial series. Even in the projection room there was the impression of actually being in the theatre where they were performing."

The Pathe Pictorial of the Beatles in concert was added to the Pathe feature 'Pop Gear' (aka 'Go Go Mania'), also shot in CinemaScope. Many of the acts in 'Pop Gear' were managed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, hence the decision to tag on the Beatles concert footage. The 70 minutes special POP GEAR is essentially a collection of Scopitone-like lip-synch performances of various British musical acts from the Mersey Beat era: The Animals, Herman's Hermits, Peter & Gordon, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, The Honeycombs, The Spencer Davis Group, Sounds Unlimited, The Nashville Teens, The Fourmost, Tommy Quickly, The Four Pennies, Matt Monro, Billie Davis, and others. The movie is hosted by long-haired british pop personality Jimmy Savile.

In 2014, British Pathe finished the job of uploading their entire film archive to YouTube, including the full film, but also clips (offcuts, selected scenes, out-takes, rushes) not seen in the finished version of The Beatles Come To Town.

Unfortunately, British Pathé uploaded the film in 25 frames per socond, in stead of the correct framerate of 24 fps.


The complete 8 minutes long film has not been released on VHS or DVD, let alone Blu-ray.

1 comment:

Vixen said...

Totally CLASSIC!