W. Langan | the end of the world to your town! | 01/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video series is highly recommended for any serious Beatle fan! While I agree that you can't say it all in just 8 hours, all 4 beatles share stuff you won't find in any book on the Beatles. Tape 1 begins with a video collage of their history, features their youthful beginnings, days in Hamburg, how Ringo joined the band, and their rise to the top in England.Tape 2 shows their growth as a band, talks on their BBC sessions, performing for the Queen, stories about touring, and some hilarious TV segments!Tape 3 begins with their introduction into America, talks about their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, Ringo's tonsilitis, and their 1st movie A Hard Day's Night.Tape 4 talks about the pressures of touring, drugs, Dylan, the making of Help!, the inspiration for Yesterday, and winning the MBE award.Tape 5 talks about their Shea Stadium performance, meeting Elvis, Rubber Soul and Revolver.Tape 6 talks on the events that led to the Beatles' final tour in 1966 (the Philippines and John's remarks about Jesus), Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane,Sgt. Pepper, and their holiday in Greece.Tape 7 starts with the One World performance of "All You Need Is Love", and talks about the Maharishi, the death of Brian Epstein, Magical Mystery Tour, the opening of Apple, Yellow Submarine, and John's new companion, Yoko Ono.Tape 8 begins with the White Album, discusses the closing and dissolution of Apple, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Paul's marriage to Linda, John's marriage to Yoko, George and John's drug busts, Abbey Road, and the Free As a Bird video (what? Real Love isn't included! ).A splendid time is guaranteed for all!"
The Beatles Forever.
G. Guberlal | 03/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the bombs fell over England in 1940, John Winston Lennon was born and as war raged, Sir James Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Starkey a.k.a. Ringo Starr began their young lives in a dirty port city called Liverpool. They were mostly poor boys who today are legends. The most interesting thing from the TV special in 1995, the 3 albums that followed and the 8 VHS tapes that expanded the story was the fact that it was "The Beatles" in their own words and recollections. There's so much packed inside this story and safe to say, so much more we don't know, that it is engrossing each time you watch it. The interweaving of outtakes, never before heard songs and footage is beautiful. George Martin's emotional talk and tears as he remembers John Lennon is heartwrenching. You see here the strength of the four lads from Liverpool, the closeness of their friendship and those involved with them.The DVD version is jammed with more than the 8 VHS tapes and elevates the "Anthology" to a rounder story. At the time of its initial release, there were 3 surviving Beatles, sadly now there are 2. One sit through of this is not enough for you are sure to miss elements. As timeless as The Beatles themselves, so is their story and this anthology. Robert Eldridge (...)"
"Magic it is and magic it always was."
W. Langan | the end of the world to your town! | 04/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in January 2000, I reviewed this box set here (see "If You Liked the TV Special, You'll Love This!"). 3 years later, many Beatles fans' prayers (including my own) have been answered with the release of this video library in DVD form. Rather than resay what I said back then, I just thought I'd write with a different perspective. The opening statement is from the liner notes of Derek Taylor, who served as the Beatles' press agent.To answer a recent review, here's what's on it: performances of the Beatles live in concert and television performances (not complete concerts), some original videos, narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, the late George Harrison (who was still around during the making of this documentary) and the late John Lennon (his comments are culled by old interviews), excerpts from early recordings, studio outtakes, press conferences and all 5 of their movies and finally, over 30 complete Beatles tracks (By the way, "Real Love" is included in this edition).The sound quality is superior here than the original VHS (and you have the option of LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital surround sound and DTS 5.1 surround sound). You also have the option of subtitles in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese (Brazilian and European). Just don't expect your Linguistics teachers to be impressed with how many French or Spanish words you learned while watching this!It is a bit of a shame that individual tracks weren't assembled for complete songs. Oh well, a minour disappointment! Keep in mind that the 8 video VHS box set was actually pricier than the 5 DVD box set back when it was released in 1996 (I remember paying over [money] for mine!).Then of course, there's the Special Features DVD. In addition to the "Real Love" video (which wasn't included on the original VHS edition), there's a segment in which Paul, George and Ringo all gather together in 1994 to discuss the old days and jam out on old songs. The 3 are also featured here in 1995 discussing with George Martin, their producer, the choosing of different outtakes on the 3 Anthology CD's and studio techniques they used during the original recording sessions. Paul, George and Ringo also discuss with Jeff Lynne how a Beatles mini-"reunion" took place with 2 John Lennon demos ("Free As a Bird" and "Real Love"). Also, there's a section on how many hours of interviews and classic footage came together for this documentary and a feature on how the "Free as a Bird" video was made.Give yourself at least 2 weeks to enjoy as Derek Taylor once put it these "10 hours of unchallengable evidence" of the Beatles' legacy, which continues even to this day."
Maybe 9 out of 10 stars is more accurate
G. Guberlal | 12/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Beatles Anthology is a great video set documenting the lifeand times of the greatest band of this century. There are 8 tapes,starting with the births of the fab four and ending with the 1970 breakup (and the "Free As A Bird" video as a poignant epilogue). There are rare film clips included. If you are new to the Beatles, then this set will provide a wonderful introduction to John, Paul, George and Ringo. If you are an avid fan, then you know already that the set includes various anecdotes that shed new light on the Beatles. Here are some highlights: - the lovely montage at the beginning, with the apt "In My Life" as the song. - the story about the burnt condom (Tape 1) - an early film of the Beatles singing the song "Some Other Guy" at the Cavern (Tape 1) - a funny juxtaposition of three versions of the song "How Do You Do It" (Tape 1) - juxtaposition of the Rolling Stones cover and the Beatles rendition of "I Wanna Be Your Man" (Tape 2) - Paul's story on "Yesterday" (Tape 4) - George's story about how he and John got introduced to LSD (Tape 5) - the "amazing" Japanese efficiency on the Beatles Japan tour (Tape 5) - the film of "A Day In The Life" (Tape 6) - George's way of saying that the Magical Mystery Tour album was "Paul's idea." - Ringo's comments on Heinz beans (Tape 7) - Ringo's comments on the naked album cover (Tape 7) - the "Hey Jude" performance on the David Frost Show (Tape 8) - the hilarious yet brief appearance of Magic Alex (Tape 8) - John singing "Don't Let Me Down" on the rooftop concert (Tape 8) OK: some drawbacks to the anthology set that one should be made aware of: - it doesn't discuss at all the notorious "butcher" album cover - no mention of the impact of the song "Helter Skelter" on Charles Manson - George Martin, whose comments on the Beatles albums are always appreciated, is not shown commenting on "Magical Mystery Tour." My guess is that he had little if any good things to say about it, and the filmmakers chose to omit his comments. Still, if anyone has anything productive to say about the album, it would be him. - no mention of the failed Beatles film projects (i.e. the Lord of the Rings, or the Three Musketeers). - from about Tape 5, Brian Epstein pretty much disappears from the narrative. It would have been nice to have some time discussing his reaction to the Beatles new wave of creativity starting at around 1965. - no mention of Stuart Sutcliffe after the Beatles leave Hamburg for the first time. - the "Free As a Bird" video, while including shots of Brian Epstein and the Beatles, fails to include shots of Billy Preston and George Martin. If they are in the video and I'm just not seeing them, please someone let me know! - no mention of the White album sessions involving Eric Clapton on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." - Tape 8 ends rather poorly in my opinion. The interviews are very vague when talking about Allen Klein or Paul's departure from the Beatles. - no use of the songs "Here There And Everywhere" or "I Me Mine" during any part of the anthology. 'Tis a shame; they're great songs. All that aside, the Beatles anthology with its highlights and drawbacks is on the whole a worthwhile investment, if not for the sheer craftsmanship of the filmmaking then for the quality of the Beatles themselves. It is an incomplete anthology for the reasons already mentioned, but that does not diminish the joy of watching this great documentary whose treasures are valuable for any appreciator of good filmmaking, good music, and the Beatles."
As enjoyable as the Beatles Bootleg Videos -- Only Better
G. Guberlal | 04/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was beginning to wonder if this documentary would ever be released on DVD. Most recent reviews of this documentary by those who had seen it were beginning to wonder if the Beatles were planning to have The Beatles Anthology music albums released onto 8-Track. Since the death of the Laserdisc player, the only way one could purchase this wonderful documentary was only on VHS tape for many, many years.For those who are asking, "I saw the three part documentary on ABC in 1995. I wonder what the expanded version is like?" Answer: If you loved watching The Beatles Anthology on television, and taped it, and watched it many times over, you'll love this documentary which is longer than 11 hours, including the fifth disc with previously unreleased material. Most of what was cut from the ABC broadcast were musical collages similar to the "In My Life" footage that appeared at the beginning of both the Television and Commercial Free versions. Also cut were old TV appearances in part or in whole by the Beatles. And also cut were interview sequences with the Beatles where they went into greater detail about their history. And finally, also missing from the ABC broadcast were what the Beatles referred to as "Taped TV Promotional Films" of their music -- We Can Work It Out, Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, Rain. Watching all of the various perfomances reminded me of the first time I saw these about 15 years ago on a two hour VHS tape of various performances by the Beatles. The video was of very poor quality, looking like a copy of a copy of a copy. This DVD is like looking at those same performances, only in pristine, mint condition.If you have to choose between the unwieldly hardcover coffee table book and this new DVD video, pick the one that comes alive with music and words by the greatest rock group of the 20th century.As for the additional fifth disc, this was a lot of fun to watch too. The disc contains the "Real Love" video, which was not part of the earlier commercial versions available. Mostly, this disc is the behind the scenes for the behind the scenes documentary made in 1995. At the end of one of the segments, the surviving three Beatles announce that this is their "Candlestick Park". Like always, the Beatles knew how to go out with a bang and not a whimper."