Saturday 3rd February
I first saw this on Boxing Day 1967, in black and white. I watched it with my parents and their reaction (and possibly mine) would best be summed up by the phrase “They’re having a laugh, aren’t they?”
And that is exactly what they were doing. At a loss and a loose end after the tragic death of their manager Brian Epstein they decided to make a fun film. They already had the songs (possibly rejects from Sergeant Pepper) and they incorporated them into the film. There was no script and very little idea except a Magical Mystery Tour where anything could happen – and probably would.
A few weeks ago I bought the DVD, recently digitally remastered and I watched it yesterday (the second time); amazing how much I could remember. But the most surprising thing was – it is in colour. Brilliant vivid sunny colours, which transformed the fuzzy black and white images we watched on our tiny Murphy TV back in that psychadelic year (all that was lost in black and white.)
The whole film is a cross between an acid trip and a very English village fete filmed by a secret and surreal director watching and filming the antics.
I have had the CD for years which also includes a few ‘B’ sides from around ’67 and ’68 and have always loved those songs, even if the production was a bit hurried and not perfect at all. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the film, it took me right back to the Sixties, where anything was possible.
In many ways it shows the Beatles in a totally different light, not acting, not playing for the cameras, but just being themselves.
I will wait a while before watching it again, but not as long as 51 years next time. Well worth the tenner it cost…