Songs you’ll never forget, the film you’ve never seen and a story that’s never been heard. In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and the Our World satellite broadcast of All You Need Is Love, The Beatles devised, wrote and directed their third film, Magical Mystery Tour, a dreamlike story of a coach day trip to the seaside. Apple Films have fully restored the long out-of-print, classic feature film for October 8th release worldwide (October 9th in North America) on DVD and Blu-ray with a remixed soundtrack (5.1 and stereo) and special features. For the first time ever there will be a limited theatrical release in certain territories from September 27th.
Magical Mystery Tour will be available in DVD and Blu-ray packages, and in a special, 10”x10” boxed deluxe edition. The deluxe edition includes both the DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a 60-page book with background information, photographs and documentation from the production, and a faithful reproduction of the mono double 7” vinyl EP of the film’s six new Beatles songs, originally issued in the UK to complement the film’s 1967 release.
The restoration of Magical Mystery Tour has been overseen by Paul Rutan Jr. of Eque Inc., the same company that handled the much acclaimed restoration of Yellow Submarine. The soundtrack work was done at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell.
All of the packages contain a host of special features, packed with unseen footage. There are newly-filmed interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and other members of the film’s cast and crew, as well as a director’s audio commentary recorded by Paul.
In September 1967, The Beatles loaded a film crew onto a bus along with friends, family and cast and headed west on the A30 out of London to make their third film, this time conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves.
“Paul said ‘Look I’ve got this idea’ and we said ‘great!’ and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top – that’s where we started,” explains Ringo. “It wasn’t the kind of thing where you could say ‘ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is the product of our imaginations and believe me, at this point they are quite vivid,’” says Paul. The film follows a loose narrative and showcased six new songs: “Magical Mystery Tour,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Flying,” “Blue Jay Way,” and “Your Mother Should Know.”
Magical Mystery Tour features a fabulous supporting cast of character actors and performers, including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the inimitable Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
Although the 53 minute film was shot in glorious colour, it premiered on UK television in black and white. Broadcast by BBC1 at 8:35pm on Boxing Day, the film immediately attracted widespread controversy as middle England and the establishment media erupted with indignation. “How dare they?” they cried, “They’re not film directors! Who do they think they are?” they howled. Where were the four loveable moptops of Help! and A Hard Day’s Night? Those Beatles were out of control!
Partly as an upshot of this adverse reaction, the film never had a US broadcast and very limited distribution in the rest of the World.
Operating at the time as the world’s de facto “cultural mission control,” The Beatles were already influencing filmmakers, artists and musicians, while also drawing inspiration from their contemporaries.
Apple & EMI have partnered with Omniverse Vision, the leading distributor of music events to cinemas worldwide, to bring exclusive showings of Magical Mystery Tour to the big screen for the first time. Screenings will take place in selected cinemas from 27th September in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan, and other countries worldwide. Once confirmed full listings will be available at www.thebeatles.com
In addition The British Film Institute have announced a special screening of Magical Mystery Tour at BFI Southbank on October 2nd – tickets are now available from the BFI website.