A Candidate for Worst Beatles Doc Ever

Grab some images like this from Google and you too can maker a documentary!

Written and Directed by Les Krantz
MVD Visual, 60 mins.
zero stars

Is The Beatles: Their Golden Age” the worst film ever made about the Fab Four? I wouldn’t go that far. It’s possible there are lousier efforts out there that I’ve simply not seen. If there are, please alert me—sitting through Les Krantz’s film is as much pain as I can take. I will give him credit for one thing: I once thought it impossible to make the lovable Liverpudlians boring, but I was wrong.

I knew I was in for trouble from the opening sequence on. The soundtrack consisted of generic music, some of which was vaguely composed to sort of resemble Beatles’ tunes. I’ve encountered this before and what it means is that the director could not secure permission to use Beatles’ tunes and didn’t have the money to hire other musicians to recreate them and pay copyright fees. This makes for awkward filmmaking; dozens of Beatles’ songs are mentioned, but none are heard. What we hear most is crowds screaming and Kranz’s voiceover, sure signs of no-budget filmmaking. What Kranz did was grab a few pieces of public domain documentary footage and force fit them into a Wikipedia-like overview of the Beatles’ career. (And it’s a truncated version at that, with all of earliest years shoved into a few minutes and no explanation of how Ringo came to replace Pete Best.) You will see the same pieces of surging, screaming crowds over and over, as well as a few fair-use interview snippets, and segments from various films made about the Beatles. In other words, it’s the sort of film that someone reasonably skilled with iMovies could make in an afternoon.

The thesis, such is it is, is that The Beatles quickly became more popular than Elvis. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this? And is there anyone who thinks that you can make a decent film about the most popular band in history without using any of its music? Simply a horrible project. Watching this was my own Hard Day’s Night.

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