“Woodstock”

I have never been thrown out from or not admitted to a film, though I was underage when I saw this (OK, by just a few days). A friend who was older was not allowed in. That was the Capitol cinema Scarborough for you. It’s a bingo hall now.

“Woodstock”, from 1970, is a record of the events at, er, Woodstock, the festival of peace, love and music in New York.

Director Michael Wadleigh had multiple cameras covering it all. There are three main areas of interest: the bands and their performances, of course, the crowd and how they dealt with the conditions and the weather, and the views of the locals (mixed but mostly negative).

There’s a good variety of acts shown, some still going kind of (eg The Who), some rather forgotten (eg Country Joe McDonald) and many long gone (eg Hendrix, Janis Joplin). And some refused to be filmed (eg Blood, Sweat & Tears) and who probably regret it now. And some just starting on a long career (Crosby, Stills & Nash).

The film makes use of split/multiple screens and has to be seen on the big screen with good sound. There are dvd versions that include more music.

The actual festival took place in 1969. Blimey!!

“Yellow Submarine”

Not a Beatles film this, not really. The Fab Four had made two feature length films but wanted no more, so they gave permission, and four unused songs, for this 1968 animated classic.

The plot: Pepperland is invaded by the Blue Meanies and their fiendish army to destroy all jollity and the repress the population. Old/young Fred is sent to Liverpool to get help.

The parts of the film were done by different animators, explaining the changes in style (not a bad thing). Involved were TVC, who later made The Snowman.

As well as the four new songs, oldies but goodies were included, for example All You Need Is Love, Nowhere Man, When I’m Sixty-Four and many more. The orchestral score, partly based on Beatle tunes, was by George Martin.

The lads did not do their own voices. They could have, and I suspect they regretted it at the end when they saw just how good the film was. Instead, the voices were by stalwart British comedians/actors such as Dick Emery, John Clive, Geoffrey Hughes and Lance Percival. The Beatles appear at the end, very briefly.

It’s a wonderful film, funny and clever and taking inspiration from many great songs.

A highlight for us is the Eleanor Rigby scene near the start, perfectly capturing the gloom of northern England.

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