26 December 1967

Baffling Beatles

Magical Mystery Tour, the third Beatles film and the first directed by the group, was premiered on BBC1 on this day in 1967. Initial reaction was largely negative, with the Daily Express dismissing it as ‘blatant rubbish’ and ‘tasteless nonsense’ – quotes that were proudly reproduced on subsequent promotional posters. A minority enjoyed the film, however,
and it went on to acquire cult status. Prominent directors now cite it as a formative influence.

In 2010 the Beatles films were scheduled for Blu-ray release, with cut scenes restored. Mojo magazine revealed some of the material in store…

The Beatles perform 'I Am The Walrus' in the film

UNSEEN BEATLES REVEALED AT LAST

The Beatles movies are set for a Blu-ray release, and we are promised pristine quality and expert restoration.

Of particular interest to fans will be the extras, and in particular the deleted scenes, many of which were considered too risqué to make the final cut.

In A Hard Day’s Night, the boys drive past a poster for a Freddie & The Dreamers concert. ‘Look!’ cries John, with mock enthusiasm. ‘It’s Freddie and the Wankers!’

Later, while the band is on stage, a policeman (played by road manager Mal Evans) stands in the aisle of the theatre. Everyone is clapping along, but the girl in the seat next to Evans has only one arm. The policeman holds his palm out and she claps her hand against it. The scene was Lennon’s idea, as a parody of a scene in an Elvis Presley movie in which a cop dances along with the audience at a concert.

In Help! the boys drink lager and lime (in real life their regular tipple was scotch and Coke). In one scene, Paul orders beers in the bar, then George adds, ‘And six crates for George Brown.’ (Brown was a leading Labour politician whose behaviour was notoriously unpredictable when drinking.)

In Magical Mystery Tour John sits in the coach with his hair parted to the side and a Hitler moustache. He greets Ringo’s Auntie Jessie (played by Jessie Robbins) with the words  ‘Guten morgen.’ She gives him a suspicious look and says, ‘You’re not from round here are you?’

At Lennon’s suggestion, a mock advertisement was to be shown after the final credits. It advertised a ‘forthcoming attraction’ entitled The Rolling Stones Miraculous Mystical Tour. Lennon was annoyed by what he saw as the Stones’ attempts to copy everything the Beatles did. Unfortunately the clip could not be traced, and it will not be included in the re-released version.

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