EMI Music / 150 minutes including extras / 2 disc set
The Beatles, Roy Kinnear, Victor Spinetti, Eleanor Bron, Patrick Cargill, John Bluthal
A Hard Days Night had been a major movie revelation, its crisp black and white day in the life of the biggest band in the world won approval from critics all over the world, as well as piling it in at the box office. Help! at the time was seen as something of a lesser beast, its pop art colours and slapstick humour somehow seeming forced. 40 years on Help! is just about the perfect summation of everything the Beatles stood for.
From the opening scenes of the fab four walking through four different doors on a terraced street emerging into one super luxurious shared “pad” (pretty much the way their fans thought they lived anyway) to the gorgeous set pieces dreamed up for the 7 fabulous songs on the soundtrack.
The story is hugely eccentric, psychadelic a good couple of years before psychadelia took hold, choc full of classic British comedy character players and clearly a forerunner for the likes of Python (director Richard Lester was an early acolyte of the Goons helming the Peter Sellers classic short The Running Jumping Standing Still film which itself was a major influence on A Hard Days Night!). Basically Ringo becomes the target of an Indian death cult thanks to one of his rings and the group (led by the splendid Leo McKern and Lennon amoure Eleanor Bron) will stop at nothing to get their hands on it.
It’s a gloriously enjoyable romp through everything that was great about the swinging sixties and this very groovy new 2 disc collection with its remastered print, collectors booklet and bonus disc of goodies is a worthy celebration.
Extras are very cool, the main one is a 30 minute doco on the making of the movies with interviews with cast and crew including director Lester as well as rare footage of the boys on set. There is also a great missing scene featuring Wendy Richard; A featurette on the restoration of the movie, cast and crew reminiscences, a trio of theatrical trailers and radio spots hidden as Easter Eggs.
Please note: This article predates the published date and is from the old HTML version of Memorable TV and is part of our From The Archives collection.