talks of a Director's Cut, one recalls Francis Ford Coppola's
version of Apocalypse Now which has chunks of footages reinstated
or Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, where the entire voiceover was
A Director's Cut of The Beatles Anthology was completed in 1993;
and the official or approved version appeared in 1996 on laserdisc
and VHS videotape. In 2003, a DVD version with some extras was
released. While the 10-DVD Director's Cut is currently being shared
and traded among fans, it has been reported that some unscrupulous
fans are selling the set for as much as US$270.
are his comments on the
initial positive experience of LSD -
he felt like going up to everyone
at the disco and telling them that
he loved them - and that it was
dentist John Riley who
introduced him to the drug.
want to know: what is censored from the official version. For
a start, even the naming of the band is a bit dodgy with George
Harrison's "I give it 50 per cent Lennon 50 per cent Sutcliffe"
being censored in the final version. Also missing are his comments
on the initial positive experience of LSD - he felt like going
up to everyone at the disco and telling them that he loved them
- and that it was dentist John Riley who introduced him to the
drug. It's also been reported that Harrison wanted a segment on
his songwriting trimmed.
is the move by the band from Liverpool to London, to the Abbey
Road Studios. It is interesting to note that while the Beatles
turned Abbey Road into an historical site, there is hardly any
footage of the exterior of the studio or its environment or that
famous zebra crossing in the final version. On the Director's
Cut, on the other hand, there is a nice segment that shows the
transition from Liverpool to London. And as George Martin was
such a crucial member of the Beatles, there is also a bit more
background on the producer in the Director's Cut.
that never made it to the final version include Ringo explaining
how the band methodically did the sound settings for their amps
during rehearsals for the Ed Sullivan Show only to have the cleaning
lady wiping off the chalk marks; and George Martin, explaining
how A Day In The Life was constructed - layer by layer (it was
take 4 and take 6 and not the rehearsal take that was finally
used) - and the version shown featured the original "humm" ending.
segment that never made it to the
final version: George Martin explaining
how A Day In The Life was
constructed - layer by layer - and the
version shown featured the
original "humm" ending.
When it comes
to the Beatles, there are three areas that fans will debate on
- drugs, Yoko Ono and the breakup.
One of the drug stories reported in the Director's Cut but left
out in the official version is Harrison on the band's trip to
the Bahamas while filming Help!: "We smoked reefer on the plane
to the Bahamas, we used Mal's (Evans, road manager) cigar smoke
to cover it." Another snippet left out is Ringo Starr commenting
on how friendly the police were when they were touring in 1964:
"The police were very good to us, they used to steal pills from
the kids and give 'em to us." Another juicy bit is fifth Beatle
Neil Aspinall's story of close Lennon friend Peter Brown bringing
a box of chocolates filled with marijuana to the Beatle while
the latter was filmming How I Won The War in Spain, and spilling
them out onto the carpet.
As the Beatles
Anthology shows, there are no great "villains" in the story. Yoko
Ono's relationship with John Lennon can be referred to and talked
about but there is nothing as vehement as Harrison saying in the
Director's Cut that Yoko saw the Beatles as a wedge between she
and Lennon, or McCartney saying, "We were like her courtiers."
Yoko was the one who introduced heroin to Lennon and, according
to Peter Brown in the book, The Love You Make: An Insider's Story
Of The Beatles, "many of John's intimates saw heroin as the way
Yoko could gain complete control over John. If there was one single
element that was the most crucial in the breakup of the Beatles,
it was John's heroin addiction."
this point was never brought up when the show looked at the break-up
of the band. Only Ringo said the energy in the band had "dissipated
everyone's got their own things." As if that explained everything!
It is while comparing the officially released DVD and the Director's
Cut that one is struck by the emphasis placed on certain people
and events. In that sense, one walks away with the impression
that there are more personal comments and less concert and TV
shots in the Director's Cut.
exception of the abovementioned, the Director's Cut generally
does not offer drastic revisions. Very often, it is one line here
that is added or taken out, for example, on the Revolver album,
Aspinall adds: "They never practised their Revolver songs to do
on stage," or George Martin commenting on why no one Beatle could
become the leader of the group: "None of the others would have
stood for it." At times, it could be one shot there that is missing
or changed. For instance, in the segment on the early days of
the Beatles touring with Helen Shapiro, there is a shot of her
with Lennon in the Director's Cut but none in the official version.
Or that different
sound/song mix being used, for example, different intros were
used for Paperback Writer and Rain promos. Some of the footage
carries a time code and the music promos for Day Tripper and We
Can Work It Out carry the subtitle "Temporary Picture."
interview clips of
Paul McCartney (above)
and George Harrison
(below) only appeared
in the Director's Cut.
Or it could
be that different shots were used. For instance, on Disc One and
Two of the Director's Cut, McCartney is shown in interviews wearing
a polka-dotted shirt. On the official release, he is wearing a
dark turtleneck. Similarly with Harrison, who is sporting a moustache
and shown being interviewed in a control room. The official release
features a clean-shaven Harrison. In such instances, while the
gist of the interview may be the same, the delivery could have
varied in the final version.
One of the
show's conceit is that there is no narrator for the series. Such
a narrator, no matter how objective, can, by tone of voice or
choice of words, sway the viewer. As it stands, the Anthology
tries to allow each character to tell his side of the Beatles
story in his own words. It is because the players all get a bit
more say in the Directors Cut that makes it essential viewing.
here for a full breakdown of the changes between the Directors
Cut and the final version.
The Beatles Anthology Director's Cut is part of the BigO DVD Archive
of Rare Films.
for the full list.