A Movie A Day #249: Beatlemania (1981, directed by Joseph Manduke)


In this filmed version of a hit Broadway musical, four musicians who look like the Beatles from a distance play 3o Lennon/McCartney songs while newspapers headlines scroll over their heads and famous events and figures from the 60s appear on the screen behind them.  The camera sometimes follows the musicians backstage as they switch from dark suits to white Magical Mystery Tour tuxedos and later into the uniforms of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  They also try on a variety of wigs and fake facial hair.

The main problem with Beatlemania is that the four musicians may be good but they are still not the Beatles and, regardless of how hard they try, they never really sound like the Beatles either.  At first, I was impressed by the fact that they did, at least, physically resemble the Beatles but then I realized that musician I thought was George was actually supposed to be John and that the musician who actually was supposed to be George looked more like Keith Richards.  Ringo, meanwhile, looked like Keith Moon.  On the other hand, the show’s Paul looked exactly like the real Paul but was so stiff and precise in his movement that it was like watching one of the robots from Disney’s Hall of Presidents.

I can understand why nostalgic baby boomers made the original stage show a hit but, ultimately, it is best just to stick with the originals.

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