Tuesday, October 14, 2008

At the Cinema: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour Memories

Hello, my name is Megan, and I’m a sucker for rock docs.

The latest installment in this mild infatuation of mine is the nostalgia-laden look at one of rock history’s most unusual roadtrips, “The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour Memories”. And while it’s well known that I prefer the Stones in musical realms, there’s no denying the overwhelming power of the Beatles when it comes to myths and legends and lore.

Sure, this documentary isn’t a big-budget affair. You’re not going to see the surviving Beatles sitting down for candid interviews about their “Magical Mystery Tour” experiences. But instead, it’s full of what you might never have thought of - the memories of others: press officers, family, journalists, and locals who found themselves in the fantastical path of that wacky yellow bus and those four legendary Liverpudlian boys. You’ll hear from Paul’s brother about the beginnings of the movie, and the local eggman of Newquay who had his van photographed by the Beatles.

It’s also an informative flick: I for one never knew where and why the name Death Cab for Cutie came from, but now I (and you) can rest easy. It’s a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, chosen to be in the “Magical Mystery Tour” movie by John Lennon. Either that, or the DCFC boys saw the same vintage true crime mag that inspired the Bonzo boys. Either way, it all appeals to the music history nerd in me.

Through rarely seen images and video clips, and radio interview segments, the film draws a clear picture of the experience not only for the band, but more so for those along for the ride. The one thing that could have been bettered would be the music, as the original versions of the songs were not used (I’m guessing because the price was too high). It’s a small point, though, and all in all, the doc is yet another thing for all you Beatles fans to sink your teeth into.


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