Let’s assume that you’re the sort of moviegoer who is not averse to taking in a documentary film on occasion. Would you consider going out on a Thursday evening to watch a documentary double feature that runs over two hours in total, possibly keeping you up past your work-week bedtime? Maybe not? What if I told you that the incitement will be a never-before-seen compendium of clips from live performances by the Beatles in their heyday, followed by a remastered version of The Beatles Live at Shea Stadium 1965? Ah, now we’re talking. This is a true Event.
Assembling The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years has been a long labor of love for Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, and it’s finally ready for its worldwide premiere on Thursday, September 15. Drawing from more than 100 hours of rare and unseen footage collected from fans, news outlets and national archives, as well as the Beatles’ private collection, Eight Days a Week includes 12 full and partial performances from the concerts. These have been elegantly recut and remastered in high-definition and 5.1 surround-sound, and are the closest thing that an audience can get to experiencing the band play live during that brief magical interval between 1962 and 1966 when the Beatles were touring.
Using studio chatter and outtakes, the film also delves into the inner workings of the group – how they made decisions, created their music and built a collective career together – as well as the effect that those years had on their personal and musical evolution. New interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as a host of names with direct experience of the times, add detail and depth.
Whichever side of the Hudson you call home, you have two opportunities to experience Opening Night of this much-anticipated movie, only five time zones behind its London premiere: at the Rosendale Theatre and at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. And both local art houses have programmed special add-ons to make the one-night-only screenings even more enticing and special.
Upstate Films is scheduled to show The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, September 15. The screening will be preceded by a live introduction from a Beatlemania expert: Jonathan Gould, the author of Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America. Following Howard’s new documentary will be a cleaned-up version of the recording of the entire 30-minute concert played at Shea Stadium in August 1965. (Some of you may even have been there!) For more info, call (845) 876-2515 or visit https://upstatefilms.org/special-events.
The Rosendale Theatre is starting its show (including both docs) an hour earlier, at 7:15 p.m., in order to incorporate some fun audience-participation activities: a full-on Beatles singalong medley and a Swinging Sixties/London Mod fashion show. Prior to the film, local musician Pete Santora – who portrayed George Harrison in the original Broadway, national and London productions of Beatlemania – will lead the audience in a Beatles medley, accompanied by Laurie Giardino’s screen collages with song lyrics.
Also, attendees are encouraged to wear their best approximation of the Carnaby Street fashions of the early ’60s. Show up in bell-bottom jeans, miniskirt, Union Jack jacket, white go-go boots, Nehru-collar paisley shirt, Victorian maxidress, vintage marching band gear or whatever and get $2 off your regular $10 ticket price ($8 for Rosendale Theatre Collective members). Before the screening gets underway, thematically attired audience members will be invited to dance, strut or stroll across the stage for an impromptu London Mod fashion show. In the Rosendale Theatre lobby, a “White Album Board” will be set up to encourage Beatles-related graffiti, and a poll will be taken for Favorite Beatles Song of All Time. For more info, call (845) 658-8989 or visit www.rosendaletheatre.org.
Yes, eventually The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years will turn up on television. But watching it at home just won’t be the same as sharing the experience with an eager audience.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years/The Beatles Live at Shea Stadium 1965, Thursday, September 15, 7:15 p.m., $10/$8, Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main Street, Rosendale, (845) 658-8989, www.rosendaletheatre.org, https://eightdaysaweek.bpt.me; 8:15 p.m., Upstate Films, 6415 Montgomery Street (Route), Rhinebeck, (845) 876-2515, https://upstatefilms.org.