Wednesday, 3 November 2010

One Hand Clapping

Alternate Band on the Run cover photo

One Hand Clapping
So far, Universal (who is distributing Paul McCartney's Archive Series here in Norway) hasn't managed to get their new product into the shops. So I haven't been able to purchase "Band On The Run" yet. But yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the ITV "Making of Band on the Run" TV special, and they were using archive footage both from the bonus DVD, as well as some home movie footage of a bearded Paul with Linda and the kids and also a couple of scenes from the 1973 "James Paul McCartney" TV special. Perhaps an indication of what we will find on upcoming bonus DVD's from the "McCartney" and "Red Rose Speedway" albums? What surprised me was that the footage shown from the "One Hand Clapping" film was of bootleg quality, picturewise. The sound was great though.
So I was thinking, this film was professionally filmed in Abbey Road studios and filed away in McCartney's vast archive of unrealised movie and film projects, it should have been in pristine quality. Has the original movie footage been stolen?
I'm an avid video collector and have been since the first VCR was brought into the family in 1981. Some time in the late eighties or thereabout, two leaked films started to appear on the lists I got from fellow Beatles video collectors around the world, one was "One Hand Clapping", the other was the "Rockestra" footage. Qualitywise, they were in pretty bad shape, but still they were something new to watch, and having these unreleased films was a bit exciting.
The problem with trading VHS tapes was of course that, depending on your source, you would get a degraded copy, a dub of a dub of a dub. And both picture and sound quality would suffer for each generation of the video you would get. If you could get a copy from the original owner of the smuggled out film, it would of course be quite brilliant.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps the original owner didn't want to share a quality version and copied the film a few times over himself, in order to have something unique.
What I'm getting at here, is that perhaps the one and only print of the film was stolen, and the version you're watching on the officially released DVD is simply copied from a DVD bootleg? And even though the film itself was unavailable, they still had the sound tapes, of course there'd be copies of it in the Abbey Road Studio vault. Which is why the soundtrack is vastly superior to the images we see. Just a thought.
They must have had more copies of the "Rockestra" film though, because they were able to edit together a very good promo for the "Rockestra Theme" for the Wingspan DVD.

Alternate Band on the Run cover photo

Band On The Run Live
I thought I'd share with you a great moment for me. I was too young to go and see Wings when they were doing their 1979 tour in the UK, but when McCartney finally toured again after a ten year break, he chose to open the tour in my country, Norway. I was very eager to see him and when the doors opened at Drammenshallen, I stormed in to get a good position in the hall. After a quick dash I found myself right in front of the stage, as the tickets weren't numbered seats. The concert was filmed, and I can identify scenes and people from the front line at Drammenshallen in the "Get Back" film from the tour, as well as in some live promos from the time. There was no footage of me included, but friends of mine made the final cut. Anyway, the position so close to the stage was, as I found, a great place to be, because you could see how the band interacted with each other, and you could also interact with the band. Because they could see you. So we could shout to them whenever a silent break opened, and we could mime to them when they were playing. Anyway, "Band On The Run" came up, and when Paul was singing the line "all I need is a pint a day", I actually mimed taking a sip of a keg of beer.
A couple of days later, the second gig of the tour was in Gothenburg, Sweden. That wasn't too far a trek, so I had actually gotten tickets for that show as well. I'm glad I did. First of all, they played the pre-show film, which they hadn't done in Norway. Second, they added a new song to the set, "Ain't That A Shame". And third: when they were playing "Band On The Run" and Paul came to the line "all I need is a pint a day", he mimed the same movement I had done on the previous gig! It was like he took a lesson from me! I was very proud of that.
Alternate Band on the Run cover photo


Upcoming sets
Rumour: the next releases in the McCartney Archive Series will be "McCartney" and "McCartney II". Take it for what it is.

2 comments:

D. J. said...

What you have to remember about the quality of OHC, is that it was shot on video tape, not film. There are only so many things you can do to restore the problems this video has (like banding at the top and color bleeding). Filters can only do so much. Just by looking at it I'd say the original video tape sat somewhere for a long time in not so good conditions for tape preservation. They either tried to clean it up as best they could or decided it was going to cost too much to do any more too it. Regardless, it looks a lot better to me than the youtube clips I've seen on the net.

The Rowdyman said...

I'm watching the DVD now and from what I can see, it was shot on videotape in the low lighting conditions of EMI Studios. The washed out, muddy look with the ghosting and burn-in is pretty much what you got with video of that era with no studio lighting. However, there is also noticeable film articfacts like film speaks. My guess is the copy of the film is taken from a copy that was archived to film. There's a possibility that the original video elements no longer exist. It is surprising that the video is so glitchy. Maybe the final master was also like that, perhaps explaining why the documentary was never picked up by any TV station.