“Before Elvis there was nothing” – John Lennon
Discovering the joy of the epoch defining music and of the scarcely believable story of a certain Liverpudlian quartet, who operated in a small time window during the second half of the 20th century, seems to be an experience that will long outlive all those who lived through it. Apart from the music, which speaks for itself, a good place to find out about the people involved and what all the fuss was about is to work through their feature film output and to examine some of the better films that are centred on their story, or parts of it. As opposed to the Elvis Presley film legacy, the Beatles were well served in the main by the cinematic medium, leaving a body of work to be envious of and they remain crucial visual documents of a miraculous time. The Beatles story is revealed in some depth via the ‘documentary’ bookends of the fable, The Beatles: The First US Visit and A Hard Day’s Night at the beginning and the (almost) warts and all Let It Be at the fractious end. The lads took to the silver screen with a naturalness and flair typical of their approach to every aspect of their career, but unlike Elvis they never let the ‘tail’ of their film work wag the ‘dog’ of their musical work.