Seeing Beatles movies for the first time was a scrapbook-worthy event

Published January 31, 2019

The Beatles have just announced that the 55 hours of footage from their infamous Get Back/Let It Be sessions will be turned into a brand new feature, directed by Peter Jackson. In conjunction with the release of the new feature film, the original Let It Be movie will also be released. It's about time, as it's never been available in an authorised, Beatles-approved home video format.

Earlier today I was chatting with friend and fellow Beatles fan Ian Cole about the new movie, and we tried to remember when we saw Let It Be for the first time; I think I saw it first on a third-generation bootleg video I acquired back in the 1980s. This led us to a further discussions about when we first saw the other Beatles films - we were both born in the mid-1960s, so none of us were old enough to see the films on their original release.

For a number of years in the 1970s, they used to show A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Let It Be at Stockholm cinemas, and I remember my mother taking me to see the first two of these on different occasions. I believe this was in 1974, when I was nine years old. So monumental an experience was this, apparently, that I cut the cinema ad out of the paper and put it in my scrapbook (pictured here).

I'm certainly not the first one to make this point, but how different things were back then: through sheer luck, those films were shown in a Stockholm cinema and I had a parent who was willing to accompany me to watch them. Small wonder I saved the ad: it must have constituted some kind of small connection to the experience of seeing the movies, which I couldn't have known if I would ever have the opportunity to do again.

Today, Ian informs me, he has all the Beatles films (except Let It Be, of course) on his phone.