Friday, December 28, 2007

The Beatles: Help! DVD

The Beatles: HELP!
Deluxe Edition DVD

Originally planned for 2005 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its release, this DVD reissue of Help! is well worth the wait.

Luckily, through the kindness of a family member, I got the deluxe edition for Christmas this year, and it is incredible. The restoration of the film is exemplary, with the colors even more eye-popping than they were in '65. John, Paul, George, and Ringo look great, impossibly young and full of life. The soundtrack has been lovingly remastered, with the songs sounding better than ever. My only complaint is that the dialogue is not nearly as loud as the songs or the incidental music, so that some of the witty asides are buried. This may be due to the fact that the boys were stoned out of their gourds while making the movie, and were mumbling, but in any case, the dialogue should have mastered a bit louder.

The DVD extras are very entertaining, with reminiscences from director Richard Lester, director of photography Peter Watkin, costume designer Julie Harris, and actors Victor Spinetti and Eleanor Bron. There are also original trailers and some vintage radio spots hidden in the menus.

All those things come with the standard edition, but there's even more cool stuff in the deluxe version. First off, you get a beautiful hardbound book with an appreciation from Martin Scorcese, a nice bit o' memoir from Dick Lester, and eight lobby card reproductions that are totally mind-blowing, although they have been shrunk down from the original 11 x 14. Also included is a reproduction of Lester's copy of the shooting script (working title: "Beatles Two"), with his handwritten notes. It's pretty cool.

If you love the Beatles, you owe it to yourself to own this DVD, in either edition. If you can afford it, go for the deluxe edition.

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