Fifty years ago I sat in the now-disappeared Hoyts Theatre in Ivanhoe and screamed at a film. It was ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and the theatre full of girls screamed from the opening shots right through to the end. Thinking back, it seems a particularly pointless thing to do. And here I find myself, fifty-one years later, sitting at Cinema Nova with four other patrons, watching the 2016 Ron Howard documentary ‘Eight Days a Week’, and wishing that I could scream again (except it would probably be a cracked and strangled old-lady warble by now).
Produced by the American Ron Howard, this documentary has a strong American focus – an appropriation that, swayed by my sour mood towards America after Trump’s presidential victory, I found myself resenting. But I couldn’t resent the care with which this documentary has been put together, and the sterling work that has been carried out in remastering both the sound and image quality. Certainly I’ve seen much of the footage before, and I’ve heard the story of the Beatles over and over, but there was much here that I hadn’t seen. It’s impressive to remember just how good they were playing live, particularly when they couldn’t hear what the others were singing or playing, let alone hearing themselves.
At the start of the screening there had been a rather cryptic message about viewing a Beatles film afterwards. “It’s a bit late for that” I thought, knowing that the season at the Nova is drawing to an end. The documentary ended, and I stayed as I usually do, to see the credits as three of the audience of five left. But what’s this? All of a sudden, in glorious clear colour, was the Shea stadium concert – all thirty or so minutes of it – as a parting gift.
I really enjoyed this documentary. Loved it. It’s still on at Cinema Nova, although it’s now its “last days”.
There’s a good Rolling Stone article here, complete with old footage – particularly the British Pathe documentary