After the worldwide success of A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles and director Richard Lester reunited for a follow-up film, Eight Arms to Hold You. Well, that wasn't the final title; a pleading Lennon-McCartney tune provided... more » the catchier handle: Help! A loose semispoof of the globe-trotting James Bond pictures, Help! has always been considered a somewhat disorganized comedown from its predecessor; but it presents "the famous Beatles" even more clearly as the English cousins of the Marx Brothers. The plot has an Eastern religious cult declaring that the new ring on Ringo's finger is the key element in a human sacrifice; they will stop at nothing to obtain it. Meanwhile, a mad scientist (crazed Victor Spinetti, who also appeared in A Hard Day's Night and Magical Mystery Tour) believes that if he has the ring, he could--dare we say it?--rule the world. The songs, including "Ticket to Ride" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," are filmed with gleeful ingenuity, in locations such as the Bahamas, an Austrian ski resort, and the Salisbury Plain. The relentless nonsense becomes nearly the equivalent of a swinging-'60s Alice in Wonderland: for instance, Paul shrinks to the size of a gum wrapper, John fishes a season ticket out of his soup, George wears a top hat on the ski slopes, the lads sing the "Ode to Joy" to a lion. Oh, and the film is dedicated to Elias Howe, "who in 1846 invented the sewing machine." Brilliant. --Robert Horton« less
"Everyone knows the film and loves it, that's why we're here checking it out on this page. But what about this DVD package? If you look at the price, you have to question is it really worth it.
When I first read about the Deluxe Edition, I thought the price would be around $50 like most other Deluxe Edition DVDs out there. At $95, this is way too much for what they're offering. Yes, you get all this:
- a reproduction of Richard Lester s original annotated script
- 8 lobby cards
- 60-page book with rarely seen photographs and production notes from the movie
... but unless they are signed by at least one Beatle, I wouldn't pay that much. Yes, Richard Lester's annotated script is great, but wait awhile and you'll probably find a reproduction online sometime. The lobby cards and poster are great, but those are not the main reasons for the price inflation. The 60 page book would seem to be the main reason for the price hike, but look at other Beatles books out there. The paperback version of The Beatles Anthology has 368 pages, weighs 2.2 pounds, and has over 1,300 photographs. The price? LESS THAN A THIRD of what this Deluxe Edition of Help is going for.
Yes, all these extras are nice, but it's not worth the price, and I'm a huge Beatles nut who buys everything they make. At this moment, I'm going to buy the regular edition which has been restored with great picture and a 5.1 soundtrack. Plus, the second disk has great extras (could be better if they had Paul or Ringo commenting) that will suffice. Especially for the price.
Drop the price on this Deluxe Edition, guys. If you do that, people will buy."
Fab film from the Fab Four!
J. Gibson | United States | 06/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Beatles film I saw. From the first minutes of the film I was hooked! I became an instant Beatle fan.A religious cult is after Ringo because he is in possession of thier sacrificial ring. There are several failed attempts to obtain the ring: stealing it at night as he sleeps, grabbing it when he posts a letter, the elevator scene, getting the ring at a restaurant and even sawing around his drum set so he will fall through to the basement as the Beatles record "You're Gonna Lose That Girl". Despite these failures, Clang (Leo McKern), the cult leader, is more determined than ever to get the ring from Ringo!Ahme (wonderfully played by Eleanor Braun), a priestess of the cult is secretly working with the Beatles to keep them out of harms way.Added to the mix are two bumbling scientists Professor Foot and Algernon (Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear respectively), and a Scotland Yard superintendent played by Patrick Cargill. To Cargill everything is "famous" (the famous Ringo, famous Beatles, famous plan).John, Paul, George and Ringo are all charming as ever. The settings run from England, to the ski slopes of Austria to the Bahamas.There are so many funny things in this movie that you can't just watch it one time and catch them all.The soundtrack to this movie is awesome: "Help!", "The Night Before", "I Need You", "Another Girl", "You're Gonna Lose That Girl", "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away", "She's A Woman" and "Ticket To Ride".It's such a shame that MPI is no longer producing this movie. I truly hope another distributor will be able to gain the rights so it will once again be available.It is well worth the trouble of hunting a copy of this movie down because everything about it is timeless."
HELP! DVD Review
paulisdead | Melbourne, Australia | 11/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I'm sure there will be 100's of reviews of the film itself, so I'll just skip to the tech review of the disc:
Full marks to the restoration team; as this is the best you're ever going to see this colourful 1965 classic. Nearly every scratch and dirt speck is gone and the colours look fantastic on DVD.
A full 5.1 DTS remix (not much help if you still only have Dolby Digital). Very similar to the Anthology/Love mixes of their mid 60's stuff; not many flashy rear effects (just a bit of reverb to fill it out) but for the modernists - the drums are in the centre and the new mix is a beefy one.
A Missing Scene: Just to save you the same disappointment I had - THIS SCENE IS STILL MISSING! However, we do get Wendy Richard, Richard Lester and other insiders; giving an in-depth rundown on the lost SAM AHAB scene.
The Beatles in Help!: A great documentary featuring period interviews of the Beatles with lots of behind the scenes footage interlaced with some snippets of outtakes and 8mm home movies. Very informative. Richard Lester details some of the problems of filming in the mists of Beatlemania (there's even footage of mass crowds in the Swiss Alps!). Neil Aspinell also appears; confirming the well worn stories the Beatles recreational drug use on set.
The Restoration of Help! - An in-depth look at the restoration process.
Memories of Help! - More focused on the crews experiences making the film than the 30-minute documentary. Contains behind the scenes and home movie footage.
Plus two 2 US trailers, a spanish one (with no dubbed Beatles - sadly) and hidden Radio promos.
The question of aspect ratios, neither U.S. version is corre
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 11/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The issue of aspect ratios will always be a problem with films produced between 1955 & 1990. Unless they were produced in a real "widescreen" format such as Cinemascope, VistaVision, or other trademarked names, the movie is best seen in full frame 1:33-1 format.
The Beatles Films A HARD DAY'S NIGHT & HELP were shot in a British theatrical format which is inbetween 1:33-1 and 1:85-1. About 1:66-1, which means both U.S. screen formats will cut something off of the picture.
I compared the old "Full Frame" 1:33-1 release of HELP to this new "Anamorphic" 1:85-1 release. I must first say that all of the long shots benefit from the added picture to the sides on the widescreen version, and they feel better this way. However the widescreen version tends to cut off the tops of peoples heads in the close-ups and the full frame version looks better.
Overall the film looks superior in this newly re-mastered widescreen DVD, with the color correction & scratch removal. The sound has been improved also (even though Laserdiscs have better sound reproduction).
The old Criterion 2-disc Laserdisc does contain some bonus material that is not on this 2-disc DVD release. But there is also much new bonus material on this release that was not on the old 2-disc Laserdisc release. I will keep both versions. Hopefully someday someone will release the film in it's original 1:66-1 aspect ratio and give us the full picture!"
Goofy fun, great music-- SO WHERE IS THE DVD?
David S. Michaels | Valencia, CA United States | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My three daughters (ages 11, 7, and 5) are suddenly in the full thrall of Beatlemania, something I thought I'd gotten over 20 years ago. Lo and behold, they totally re-infected me at age 44! We can't seem to get "1", "Revolver", "Abbey Road" and "Rubber Soul" out of rotation on our CD player. My kids and I also watch the DVDs of "Yellow Submarine" and "Magical Mystery Tour" (which shows how truly hard core we are) every few days.Anyway, I went in search of DVDs of "Hard Day's Night" and "Help" and found out THEY ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. It seems they have been TAKEN OFF THE MARKET just as the Fabs were hitting Number 1 again across the land! Same goes for VHS tapes and DVDs of the "Beatles Anthology" and "Compleat Beatles" documentaries, all listed as "out of print and no longer available."HELLO-- Who's reponsible for this FIASCO? Someone ought to be fired immediately for this, since there's no telling how much money is being lost minute-by-minute. The Beatles are once again the HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD, and their best movie work is suddenly UNAVAILABLE? The stupidity of this marketing move is almost inconceivable. Anyway, I was lucky enough to find a tired, worn-out VHS tape of "Help" on the bottom shelf of the local video store and brought it home. The kids, of course, FLIPPED and I found myself once again amazed at what truly natural, charismatic performers the Fabs were.Although rock critics have always liked "Hard Day's Night" more, I must admit "Help" has always been my favorite Beatles movie. Viewing it again after 20-odd years, I'm amazed at its innocent charm and how well some of the sight gags hold up. It's a sheer pleasure to watch all the proto-music videos in it, particularly the fabulous "Ticket To Ride" sequence (my youngest still screams "The SKI SONG! YIPPEEE!" whenever the opening chords come over the stereo). The Mad Scientist character reminded my girls of "The Brain." Some of the casually tossed-off lines have amazing staying power. "A feindish thingee!" "You've got a plan, haven't you inspector?" "Not a bit like Cagney!" "Ah, you see? British! If I had a Luger..." "So these are the famous Beatles / So this is the famous Scotland Yard" "Lovely boys! Just the same as they was before they was" etc. The spirit of both "Help" and "Hard Day's Night" is definitely "cheeky," as opposed to the "snotty" and cynical attitude adopted by today's teen-oriented music stars (don't believe me? Compare the excruciating "Jose and the Pussycats" to any Beatles flick and tell me we haven't gone BACKWARDS in 30-odd years in terms of music, talent and attitude). That's the only bad part of watching or listening to the Beatles in this day and age: It reminds you that pop/rock music is long into its decadent phase, with the themes so daringly explored by the Beatles and others so long ago simply being hashed, rehashed, sampled, computerized, and spat out by today's soulless performers.Anyway, I would happily buy a "Help" and "Hard Day's Night" DVD IF THEY WERE AVAILABLE! How long is this agony to last?"