Volunteer of America | Austin, Texas | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film about original Beatles member Stuart Sutcliffe was manna to a baby boomer Beatlemaniac like myself, who was 13 when Hard Day's Night was released. At that time the Beatles were much more than a top band; they WERE us, representing and leading all our creative urges, anti-establishment feelings, desire for something new, different, hip. And the imagery was (like much of the film's imagery) in black and white: the movie, Pop Weekly magazine, tv appearances, newspaper photos. Black Cuban-heeled boots, black narrow knitted ties, black polo neck sweaters, grey mohair suits.
Stuart Sutcliffe's contribution to the Beatles was considerable. A highly talented artist and creator, he bolstered John's considerable imagination and lent an artsy, more sophisticated influence to what could otherwise have conceivably remnained just another garage band. It was Stuart who bonded with Hamburg hipsters Astrid and Klaus Voorman (who drew the cover of Revolver); the impact of this pair on the band was significant. There's a reason he's on the cover of Sgt. Pepper, unlike the unfortunate Pete Best.
It was quite a treat to see Tony Sheridan - the celebrated bad influence and main attraction on the Beatles' first ever recording - looking very well, given his reputation at that time as a speed and alcohol maniac guitarist. Astrid herself of course is present, as well as Klaus Voorman, Allan Williams, their first manager, Horst Fascher, killer bouncer and Beatles protector at the Hamburg clubs, and other figures from that misty past. If you enjoyed the Beatles biography Shout - to my mind the best book written about them - you'll find the film enthralling.
Also included, a very interesting gallery of Stuart's art, much of it from the Hamburg days, and VERY good.
Could have been so much MORE!
Mark A., Costa | Ohio, USA | 02/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This gives the initial viewer a sense of what the original Beatles bass player was like. But I felt with all the exceptional interviewees that we would learn a lot more. And there just were NOT enough photos of Sutcliffe to see who he really was. The same old photos -- no movies exist of him -- at least that is what has been said. Astrid Kircherr took thousands of photos of him with the Beatles but has only released a few. For someone involved in this project one would have thought that she'd have opened up her files and show them.