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Money Can't Buy Love, but It'll Get You a Beatles DVD

July 14, 2002|STEVE HOCHMAN

The huge successes of the Beatles mid-'90s "Anthology" TV series and "1" hits collection only partly satisfied Fab Four fans' desire for items from the band's treasured catalog and vaults. But one item near the top of most Beatlemaniacs' wish lists is on its way: a DVD of "A Hard Day's Night" with comprehensive bonus material.

A two-disc package, due Sept. 24, will supplement the groundbreaking 1964 movie--transferred from the restored original negative and with digitally restored sound--with more than six hours of new material.

Among the extras: a documentary, "Things They Said Today," about the production; a song-by-song analysis by longtime Beatles producer George Martin; interviews with 30 key "witnesses" (from director Richard Lester to then-child actor David Janson); three round-table discussions with cast and crew members; a digitized copy of the first draft of the script; and unpublished photos by Robert Freeman, who shot and designed the Beatles' early album covers, including "A Hard Day's Night."

"Beatles fans have been waiting for this one," says Chris Carter, host of the Sunday-morning "Breakfast With the Beatles" program on KLSX-FM (97.1). "And it seems like it's being done the right way with the bonus material."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday July 18, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 9 inches; 331 words Type of Material: Correction
Faultline album--Electronica producer-musician Faultline's new album comes out Sept. 10. The date was incorrect in the July 14 Pop Eye in Sunday Calendar.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 21, 2002 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part F Page 2 Calendar Desk 2 inches; 93 words Type of Material: Correction
Faultline album--Electronica producer-musician Faultline's new album comes out Sept. 10. The date was incorrect in the July 14 Pop Eye.

The film, distributed by Miramax since the mid-'90s, was reissued for the big screen twice and then for home video. The company even released a DVD in 1997 with just the movie, transferred from the video and without any bonus material. It was withdrawn from the market after a brief time. A similar release was done of 1965's "Help!" The only Beatles film currently available on DVD is the animated "Yellow Submarine."

Martin Lewis, a Beatles historian and associate chosen to produce the DVD by the movie's producer, Walter Shenson, who died in 2000, went at the project with fanatical zeal.

"As a die-hard fan watching [the ABC TV series] 'Anthology,' I didn't feel I got too much fresh," says Lewis, who in the '70s worked with Beatles press representative Derek Taylor.

Rather than merely rehash the familiar tales of the production, he turned to people who could offer new insights, such as hairdresser Betty Glasow and Janson, who as a 10-year-old was featured in the memorable sequence with a despondent Ringo Starr.

"I learned so much about the Beatles and the film from people no one else had bothered to speak to," he says.

Thanks to digital technology, he also spotted some intriguing minutiae. One that tickled him was the revelation that when Paul takes his coat from a rack before the group makes its TV appearance in the film, it can now be seen that the hanger it was on had apparently been "borrowed" from the Plaza Hotel in New York--where the Beatles had just stayed three weeks prior.

And by using freeze frame, he was able to solve a mystery that had been on his mind since he first saw the film as a boy in 1964. "In the press conference scene, a woman asks John if he has any hobbies and he writes something down, and the woman is aghast," Lewis says. "For years I'd tried to discern what he wrote, but never could. Now you can freeze frame and get the actual hobby--which is indeed something rather rude."

MORE BEATLES WISHES: The "A Hard Day's Night" DVD release will come just before Oct. 5, the 40th anniversary of the U.K. release of the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," and will be followed in November by DVD releases of the "Anthology" TV show and the Paul McCartney concert film "Driving U.S.A."

So what else is high on fans' wish lists?

"Certainly something fans are pining for are overhauled remastered CDs of the Beatles catalog," says Pete Howard, Beatles collector and publisher of the CD monthly magazine ICE. He noted that the original Beatles albums have not been upgraded since their first CD release in 1988. "If and when Apple decides to put the American versions of the albums on compact disc, those would do very well.

"But the 'Hard Day's Night' DVD is a big event," Howard says. "I think for fans it will be a line-up-at-midnight event."

DEAD OFF: The "family reunion" shows are bringing the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart on stage together for the first time since Jerry Garcia's 1995 death. But fans are probably out of luck if they're hoping for a Southern California concert date.

When shows planned for early August in East Troy, Wis., suddenly appeared to be in jeopardy because of security concerns there, alternative sites were discussed, including some in California. With the Wisconsin dates back on track, there is talk of taking the show on tour, but Southern California is not among the locations under discussion--even Shoreline Amphitheatre, in Mountain View just south of the Dead's Bay Area home, is looking unlikely.

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