The Beatles Anthology (UK, 1995)

81meWe7-5AL._SL1437_Directed by: Geoff Wonfor, Bob Smeaton. Anyone who considers themselves a “serious” Beatles fan will eventually see this, so a review is almost redundant. You gotta see this! In all seriousness, this is a must-see, but only because it’s the only official, Beatles-endorsed, canonical documentary around—and what a running time! With eight episodes, clocking in at well over eight hours, this thing is a behemoth of Beatlephilia. That being said, I wasn’t exactly knocked out by this thing. The same “serious” Beatles fan mentioned above will be frustrated at how much stuff this doc presents and yet how inadequately deeply it probes. To be short, the film lingers an awful long time on the first half of the band’s career—what in my mind is the less interesting part. Certainly musically, it’s the latter few years where the band really gets going. This is also the period where the tensions of the world’s biggest band start to show and crack and ultimately rupture. This doc goes into that stuff a bit, but it also spends five of the eight episodes on the point leading up to that point, and they fill an awful lot of running time—I mean an awful lot—with musical montages. I’m watching this film, I like the band, I’ve heard the songs. I really really really don’t need you to show me stock footage of the band members in slow motion with the studio recording of “In My Life”, or “Eleanor Rigby” playing. I did, however, enjoy the occasional montage accompanied by in-progress studio chatter—hearing the boys muttering at each other, joking, the occasional angry spat. This is what every Beatles fan slobbers for, but in this doc these moments are few and far between. Ah well, we’ll take what we can get. I’m still waiting for the Biopic to End all Biopics—a painfully long, drawn out, bloated, multimillion dollar, 35mm Beatles film, with unknown actors in the leading roles, but with Michael Fassbender as George Martin (or perhaps Brian Epstein). It’s a long shot, but tomorrow never knows…


2 responses to “The Beatles Anthology (UK, 1995)

  1. Pingback: Holy Flying Circus (UK, 2011) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

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