When anyone thinks of the 1960s they immediately think of The Beatles and how influential their music was to the scene at that time. Their innovation and exploration of several music genres is part of the reason why their songs are still so influential today. However, it’s not just their music that has made them the renowned ‘pop group’ that they are recognised as today, it was also their passage into the movie world that has contributed to their success.
In their initial film, A Hard Day’s Night, the band were relatively new to the world of cinema, their movie still has an obvious plot, however simple, that captures the audience’ attention from start to finish. Furthermore, the fact that they embed their music into the films, (although the first film was originally more of a ploy to bring The Beatles music to the US via a soundtrack disc) meant they quickly became loved by their fans and thus triggered more films to be made.
Their next film, ”Help!” demonstrates how the group had started to develop their personalities and sell those personas to their fans. For example, Ringo is portrayed as the hopelessly simple one and gets himself into all sorts of trouble without even realising he’s doing so. This is in contrast to Paul who is portrayed as the dashing boy-next-door that all girls want as their boyfriend. This on screen development is part of the reason why Help! was such a big success – it actually had many facets in it that showcased not only the groups musical talents, but their ability to turn their hands to film and still be successful. The film is almost a satire of a James Bond film, which the film distributor at the time, United Artists, held the rights to. In addition to the satirical undertone, the film also takes vast amounts of inspiration from The Goon Show.
The playfulness the Beatles displayed was the key factor that made their success in the movie business so big. Canvases and murals can be bought from places such as photowall for big Beatles fans and can become a real focal point of any room.
”The Magical Mystery Tour” actually took a step back from a set narrative process and delved into an experimental and playful stage of the bands career. This can be seen in how abstract the ‘story’ is and how psychedelic the characters and scenarios in the film actually are. When the film first came out it wasn’t as well received as the soundtrack was, however, when the re-mastered version was released in 2012 it actually stole the top spot in the Billboard music video chart.
The next two film instalments are quite different from the previous three for very different reasons. Firstly, Yellow Submarine didn’t actually involve The Beatles for the voice overs; in fact, they only feature right at the end of the film. Secondly, Let It Be was more a documentary of the bands last few months together before they officially split and therefore has rather a sombre tone to the whole movie. Nevertheless, both films are widely acclaimed, obviously for different reasons than the earlier ventures.