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20 Sep 2016

Home Video Review: ‘Eight Days a Week’ Does a Great Job of Showing the Craziness of the Beatles’ Touring Years

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A scene from The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years. A scene from The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years.

Ron Howard directs The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years, the first major Beatles documentary since The Beatles Anthology in the 1990s.

While the Anthology is still the most definitive account of the greatest band to ever walk the Earth—it’s damn near perfect—Howard does a nice job of culling footage snippets of the band during the short-lived touring days, screaming fans included (one of them being Sigourney Weaver, who is seen both in vintage footage and in a present-day interview).

The surviving Beatles—Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr—participate with interviews, while John Lennon and George Harrison have a strong presence in archived interviews. As with Anthology, there’s no narrator, just the voices of the Fab Four either recounting those crazy touring days or commenting on them as they were happening.

That stretch ended right before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, when The Beatles became a studio band and eschewed live performances. As the film demonstrates, that decision came about not because they didn’t love playing together, but because they were basically afraid for their lives.

Hardcore fans will be familiar with most of the interviews and performances, although you will see and hear some surprises. This film is actually a great starting point for anyone looking to get to know more about the band. Keep this in mind when you check them out: This band did what they did in just seven years. SEVEN YEARS. That’s how long it takes many current bands to put out one album.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years is streaming on Hulu.

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