Years ago a shy, loyal Liverpudlian teenager named Freda Kelly became the personal secretary of her favorite local band. Little did she know that those four boys would grow into the Beatles, and that she’d go on to be their enduring fan club president. Ryan White’s affectionate new documentary Good Ol’ Freda (in theaters tomorrow) is not just a look at a cheerful, unassuming woman who found herself the sturdy center of a pop culture storm, but also at the band to which she stayed forever true. “This is a woman who turned down numerous book offers over the years,” says White. “She probably could’ve made a very healthy advance on many tell-alls.” But from the get, Kelly warned the director that she wasn’t interested in spilling scandalous stories on the boys’ personal lives or their behind-the-scenes drama. Instead this delightful raconteur provides a warm and cozy peak into her life with the Beatles, and the terrifically intimate relationship she maintained with their legions of fans. Original Beatles music in the film to boot. Herewith an exclusive clip: READ FULL STORY
Tag: The Beatles (1-5 of 5)
How did director Richard Lester, writers Charles Wood and Marc Behm, and the Beatles themselves find inspiration for Help!, the Fab Four’s second feature film? Hint: They had a little help from their pal Mary Jane. More specifically, says one member of the movie’s team: “I never really alluded to this until now — when I think it doesn’t matter at all — but an awful lot of pot smoking was being done.”
Get a load of that pot smoking’s legacy in this exclusive clip from “The Beatles in Help!,” a 30-minute doc that accompanies the newly remastered film on its recent Blu-ray release. The talking heads are interspersed with footage of The House that Ganja Built, plenty of Liverpudlian antics, and the boys themselves sweetly singing “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl.” The remastering makes it even easier to tell how red their eyes are!
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If you want the dish on James Bond, you don’t talk to M. You talk to Moneypenny. If you want the dish on The Beatles, you talk to Freda Kelly — the longtime secretary of the legendary band.
The band met Freda Kelly in Liverpool. She was a teenager and they were a bunch of unknowns just trying to make a name for themselves. As the legend goes, The Beatles were together for 10 years; Kelly was with them for 11. In the documentary Good Ol’ Freda, filmmaker Ryan White not only got Kelly to tell her story, but also managed to get the rare approval to use original Beatles tracks in the film, including “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Will,” “I Feel Fine,” and “Love Me Do.”
'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' doesn't always penetrate the quiet Beatle, but Martin Scorsese's two-part HBO documentary is a fab nostalgia trip
It can be a special pleasure to see a documentary about a subject you already know like family. (What you want, of course, is for the movie to take you closer still.) Back in 2005, when Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home: Bob Dylan played in two parts on PBS, I sat down to watch it thinking that I already knew more than enough about Bob Dylan (if that’s even possible). The movie was such a revelation, however, that by the time it was over, I felt I knew — really knew — Bob Dylan for maybe the first time. Taking a single year in Dylan’s career (the one where he transitioned from acoustic/folk/protest music into something wild and electric and revolutionary) and holding it up to the light for nearly four hours, Scorsese achieved something majestic in its obsession. It was like a Ken Burns film that shook its hips, an intimate talking-head biography that cast the grand shadow of a folk-pop symphony. READ FULL STORY
Last night I caught the Beatles winking and romping through Help! (as part of VH1 Classic’s nine-day Beatles retrospective). I was reminded of how much, as a kid, I used to love watching that movie, over and over again, on televison — and also of how, as the years have gone by, it has never won much respect, since it’s had to live in the shadow of A Hard Day’s Night. It deserves to, of course. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) is one of the greatest pop-jukebox musicals — scratch that, one of the greatest movies, period — ever made. (Here’s what I said about it when it was re-released in 2000.) It not only captured the sublime excitement of the earthquake that was the early Beatles but showcased the group as if they were gods at play.
Released one year later, in 1965, Help!, in effect, was the sequel, a candy-colored piece of prefab British silliness, with the Beatles, already looking like gods grown a touch blasé, going through the paces of being innocents teetering through a world unhinged by their fame. What startled me a bit, seeing Help! last night for the first time in decades, is that the dementedly frivolous East-meets-West-meets-James-Bond-meets-Beatlemania plot, in which Ringo, wearing a sacrificial ruby ring as big as the Ritz, is pursued by a homicidal sheik named Clang (Leo McKern), whose ragtag band of henchmen are operating “undercover” in London, now plays like a funky ’60s mash-up of the Marx Brothers and al-Qaeda. READ FULL STORY
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