If you wish to experience the group’s charm and musical euphoria of this time full on, without the intrusions of a tacked on plot or supplementary characters, check out the wonderful documentary "The Beatles’ First U.S. Visit". Done by the Maysles brothers – the duo behind the Rolling Stones’ "Gimme Shelter" later in the decade – the film captures all the excitement [and footage] of the Beatles’ triumphant arrival in America, including all their Ed Sullivan appearances, various backstage reflections and shenanigans, and an extended, supercharged sequence of their concert at Washington Coliseum. For my money, this film is even MORE essential than A Hard Day’s Night; it is, quite simply, the best extended visual document of the Beatles that we have.
Shown here as part of BBC2's Beatles' night, this vibrant documentary is the real-life alter-ego of the "A Hard Day's Night" Beatles' stereotypes and shows that the Fab Four were quite witty and offbeat enough, without fictional embellishment.Covering their arrival in the States in early 1964, just as "I Want To Hold Your Hand raced up the charts as their debut US hit and taking in concerts in Washington and Miami, interspersed with their historic and record-breaking appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, we get a first hand glimpse of the punishing schedule the Beatles endured in their bid to break America. Their youthful exuberance and enthusiasm gets them through and it's obvious that they take delight in their new-found celebrity in the homeland of rock 'n' roll, from where they took so much early inspiration. This of course was to pall, so that within two short years they'd exert their collective wills to get off the constant g…
It was madness, a frenzy, a pop-music explosion that still has barely been topped in the US for sheer virtuosity and awareness. After holding off on an official US mini-tour until they got some top 10 hits- and then suddenly getting THREE that were simultaneously number 1- 72 million people, more or less depending on who's reporting, watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show when they finally played in New York city on his nightly program (the filmmakers, Al and David Maysles, couldn't get permission to film in the CBS studio, so they just went across the street and found an apartment with a family watching it instead). In short, Hard Day's Night wasn't quite as zany fiction but a skewed documentary.For The First US Visit, on the fly and almost by total luck, the Maysles capture the Beatles in all their personal humor, affability, and knack with dealing with the press or the common fan (or just a little girl at one down-to-earth moment). It was the start of their par…
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