Sat. Feb 24th, 2024
alert-–-john-lennon-clowns-around-with-ringo,-paul-and-george-as-the-beatles-film-on-salisbury-plain-in-never-before-seen-images-that-‘capture-the-sheer-joy-of-the-fab-four’-as-they-made-1965-film-help!Alert – John Lennon clowns around with Ringo, Paul and George as the Beatles film on Salisbury Plain in never-before-seen images that ‘capture the sheer joy of the Fab Four’ as they made 1965 film Help!

John Lennon clowns around with Ringo, Paul and George in stills from never-before-seen footage of the Beatles while filming on Salisbury Plain. 

The images are from a silent film of more than three minutes that was shot more than 59 years ago on Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge, England, while the Beatles were on set of their film Help! in May 1965. 

The stills show the band in a jovial mood during a break for the ‘I Need You’ sequence, with John Lennon clowning around with director Richard Lester as they engage with the cast and crew.

They play around with instruments and mime to a track in the ‘makeshift’ outdoor recording studio. The Beatles are surrounded by fake armed soldiers from the British Army’s 3rd Royal Tank Regiment with their tanks and weapons.

In the quirky plot of Help!, a mysterious cult is attempting to kill Ringo Starr so the band performs under Royal Artillery protection, hence the group of soldiers in the film.

The rare behind-the-scenes film, which has not been released by auction house RR Auction in Boston, is coming up for sale for $10,000 (£8,000). 

A still of the behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles as they filmed their iconic movie Help! on location at Salisbury Plain in 1965

A still of the behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles as they filmed their iconic movie Help! on location at Salisbury Plain in 1965

The silent film (a still of which is pictured here) of more than three minutes was shot more than 59 years ago on Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge, England, while the Beatles were on set of their film Help! in May 1965

The silent film (a still of which is pictured here) of more than three minutes was shot more than 59 years ago on Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge, England, while the Beatles were on set of their film Help! in May 1965

It shows the band in a jovial mood during a break for the 'I Need You' sequence, with John Lennon clowning around with director Richard Lester as they engage with the cast and crew

It shows the band in a jovial mood during a break for the ‘I Need You’ sequence, with John Lennon clowning around with director Richard Lester as they engage with the cast and crew

The film was shot at the height of the so-called Beatlemania – a term coined after the band shot to worldwide fame in the early 1960s – which saw people line the streets to see the band wherever they went.

The Beatles were formed in Liverpool in 1960 by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.

They released their debut single Love Me Do in October 1962, with their first album Please Please Me following in March the year after. 

READ MORE: How America fell for the Fab Four: The Beatles arrived in the U.S. like a tidal wave (with half a ton of mop-top wigs) – and with 12 hits in the top 100, they really were here, there and everywhere… 

While they were already incredibly successful in Britain and other European countries, the song that finally catapulted the Beatles to success in the US was I Want to Hold Your Hand, bringing the Beatlemania over the pond after in January 1964. 

Soon after, in April 1964, the Billboard Hot 100 charts were led by five Beatles songs, with seven more further down the list.

Other artists wrote even wrote songs about the Beatles which made it into the charts.

The British band transformed the music landscape as they expertly blended classical elements with traditional pop forms and unconventional recording techniques that inspired other artists for years to come. 

After they toured less in 1966, they spent a lot of time at the famous Abbey Road Studios, where they experimented with different techniques that were unique to the studio and couldn’t be replicated on stage – revolutionary for a time when usually albums would be created by simply playing a song live in the studio a few times. 

But they were also pioneers when it comes to music videos, with Help!, which was released in July 1965, being attributed as a big influence in the creation of modern music videos. 

The Beatles were the first to use the short film showcasing their song as a PR tool to market their music. 

The Beatles - Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon - pictured while filming 'Help' in Ailsa Avenue, Twickenham, in 1965

The Beatles – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon – pictured while filming ‘Help’ in Ailsa Avenue, Twickenham, in 1965

The Beatles filming promo videos at Twickenham Film Studios in 1965, the same year as the release of Help!

The Beatles filming promo videos at Twickenham Film Studios in 1965, the same year as the release of Help!

The film was shot at the height of the so-called Beatlemania - a term coined after the band shot to worldwide fame in the early 1960s - which saw people line the streets to see the band wherever they went (here in Adelaide in June 1964)

The film was shot at the height of the so-called Beatlemania – a term coined after the band shot to worldwide fame in the early 1960s – which saw people line the streets to see the band wherever they went (here in Adelaide in June 1964)

British pop group The Beatles, from left to right; Ringo Starr, John Lennon (1940 - 1980), Paul McCartney and George Harrison (1943 - 2001), outside Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving their MBE's (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen

British pop group The Beatles, from left to right; Ringo Starr, John Lennon (1940 – 1980), Paul McCartney and George Harrison (1943 – 2001), outside Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving their MBE’s (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen

Paul, Ringo and John pictured during a press conference in America while on their famous 1965 US tour

Paul, Ringo and John pictured during a press conference in America while on their famous 1965 US tour

Their first major motion picture, A Hard Day’s Night, was a silent drama with the band’s music overlaid and is often referred to as the ancestor of the music video. 

The Help! film came at the same time as the Beatles’ fifth album, which featured songs like Help! and Yesterday.

Lennon later said of Help!: ‘I realise, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor to the Batman “Pow! Wow!” on TV-that kind of stuff.

‘But [Lester] never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn’t spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period.

‘Nobody could communicate with us, it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world.

‘It’s like doing nothing most of the time, but still having to rise at 7am, so we became bored.’

The unseen behind-the-scenes footage, on an original reel of 8mm black and white silent film, was taken by a member of the production crew or a friend of the Beatles.

It has come to light 59 years on after an Irish collector acquired it on eBay. It is coming up for sale at RR Auction, of Boston, US, for $10,000 (£8,000).

An RR Auction spokesperson said: ‘Unseen footage of the Beatles is incredibly rare, making the discovery of such a film a unique moment in popular music history. 

They muck about with instruments and mime to a track in the 'makeshift' outdoor recording studio

They muck about with instruments and mime to a track in the ‘makeshift’ outdoor recording studio

The unseen behind-the-scenes footage, on an original reel of 8mm black and white silent film, was taken by a member of the production crew or a friend of the Beatles

The unseen behind-the-scenes footage, on an original reel of 8mm black and white silent film, was taken by a member of the production crew or a friend of the Beatles

An RR Auction, which is auctioning off the tape, spokesperson said: 'Unseen footage of the Beatles is incredibly rare, making the discovery of such a film a unique moment in popular music history' (pictured: a still from the film)

An RR Auction, which is auctioning off the tape, spokesperson said: ‘Unseen footage of the Beatles is incredibly rare, making the discovery of such a film a unique moment in popular music history’ (pictured: a still from the film)

A still from the three-minute and 17 seconds film shows the drum set with The Beatles written on the drum

A still from the three-minute and 17 seconds film shows the drum set with The Beatles written on the drum

The tape (pictured above) has come to light 59 years on after an Irish collector acquired it on eBay. It is coming up for sale at RR Auction, of Boston, US, for £8,000

The tape (pictured above) has come to light 59 years on after an Irish collector acquired it on eBay. It is coming up for sale at RR Auction, of Boston, US, for £8,000

The Beatles are surrounded by armed soldiers from the British Army's 3rd Royal Tank Regiment with their tanks and weapons

The Beatles are surrounded by armed soldiers from the British Army’s 3rd Royal Tank Regiment with their tanks and weapons

The film is said to be so special because it captures the 'sheer joy of the Fab Four'

The film is said to be so special because it captures the ‘sheer joy of the Fab Four’

‘It offers some rare and unique moments where all four Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, were captured “off-camera”, in their natural, jovial state.

‘In this footage, they are not performing for the camera, but engaging with cast and crew, noodling on their instruments, and joking around on set.

‘The sequence for “I Need You” was shot near Stonehenge from May 3-5, 1965, and portrays the Beatles miming to the track in a makeshift outdoor recording studio, surrounded by armed soldiers of the British Army’s 3rd Royal Tank Regiment and their Centurion tanks.

READ MORE: Unseen footage of the Beatles fooling around as they filmed the movie Help! in the Austrian Alps emerges after being stored in a garage for 50 years

‘In the movie’s plot, Ringo Starr is being targeted for assassination by a mysterious cult so the band performs under Royal Artillery protection.’

Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auctions, added: ‘I’ve seen my fair share of rare Beatles artifacts, but this 8mm film is something special because it captures the sheer joy of the Fab Four.

‘It’s a cinematic time capsule that brings us closer to the Beatles in a way that photographs and interviews simply can’t.’

The sale takes place on February 23.

This comes after more unseen footage of the Beatles messing around as they filmed the movie Help! in the Austrian Alps has emerged after being stored in a garage for 50 years in 2017.

The famous four starred in the movie alongside the late actor Leo McKern, who became best known as Rumpole of Bailey on ITV between 1978-92.

He candidly recorded the bandmates in between takes as they larked around on set. 

The 8mm film and its copyright is now being sold for asking price of £35,000.

Speaking to the Guardian, rare books dealer and actor Neil Pearson who is selling the footage, said in 2017: ‘It is unseen footage of people who were, at that time, the most famous people on earth.

‘It is footage of golden age Beatles, fooling around between takes, waiting for something to happen … I know that feeling.’

The band members are surrounded by soldiers as the plot of Help! sees Ringo Starr needing protection from a cult

 The band members are surrounded by soldiers as the plot of Help! sees Ringo Starr needing protection from a cult 

Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auctions, added: 'It's [the tape is] a cinematic time capsule that brings us closer to the Beatles in a way that photographs and interviews simply can't'

Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auctions, added: ‘It’s [the tape is] a cinematic time capsule that brings us closer to the Beatles in a way that photographs and interviews simply can’t’

The behind-the-scenes footage shows Ringo Starr sitting behind a drum set

The behind-the-scenes footage shows Ringo Starr sitting behind a drum set

In the video, the band members were surrounded by soldiers as in Help!, a mysterious cult is attempting to kill Ringo Starr so the band performs under Royal Artillery protection

In the video, the band members were surrounded by soldiers as in Help!, a mysterious cult is attempting to kill Ringo Starr so the band performs under Royal Artillery protection

A still of the behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles as they filmed their iconic movie Help! on location at Salisbury Plain in 1965

A still of the behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles as they filmed their iconic movie Help! on location at Salisbury Plain in 1965

Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auctions, added: 'I've seen my fair share of rare Beatles artifacts, but this 8mm film is something special because it captures the sheer joy of the Fab Four'

Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auctions, added: ‘I’ve seen my fair share of rare Beatles artifacts, but this 8mm film is something special because it captures the sheer joy of the Fab Four’

The film shows John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr joking around with their stunt doubles and pretending to play instruments.  

Their tomfoolery on set for this particular film was well-documented with Ringo Starr describing in an interview in 2000 how ‘a hell of a lot of pot’ was smoked while making the film.

He said it was ‘great’ and the director knew very little would get done after lunch.

READ MORE: How Peter Jackson used clips of John Lennon and George Harrison making music video for ‘Hello, Goodbye’ at London’s Saville Theatre to reunite the Fab Four on film for new single Now and Then 

Speaking for a piece in the 2000 Beatles Anthology book, he said: ‘In the afternoon we very seldom got past the first line of the script. 

‘We had such hysterics that no one could do anything. Dick Lester would say, “No, boys, could we do it again?” It was just that we had a lot of fun – a lot of fun in those days.’

And at the end of the footage, McKern’s daughter Abigail, who was ten at the time, is recorded playing in the snow. 

She became a part of the gang and has memories of being in the Beatles entourage and even recalls being spat on by a jealous fan, according to Mr Pearson. 

Apart from family members when the McKerns returned to their home in London, it has otherwise remained unseen and kept stored away in the garage.   

It came to light because Pearson had been approached by Abigail McKern, also an actor, to see if he could help disperse her mother’s collection of children’s literature. 

Abigail McKern was brought together with Paul McCartney’s stunt double on the BBC’s The One Show in November 2017 to show the footage live on air for the first time. 

The film came following the success the group had with A Hard Day’s Night. It had a larger budget than their first movie, with scenes recorded in the Bahamas as well as Austria.  

Portrait of the The Beatles. From left to right: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison, circa 1965

Portrait of the The Beatles. From left to right: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison, circa 1965

The Beatles pictured above in Milan, 1965, at the height of Beatlemania around the world

The Beatles pictured above in Milan, 1965, at the height of Beatlemania around the world

Pictures of screaming fans at the 1965 Shea Stadium concert during The Beatles' famous 1965 US tour

Pictures of screaming fans at the 1965 Shea Stadium concert during The Beatles’ famous 1965 US tour

They spent two weeks in the Alps but while they look like they are having a great time, in interviews afterwards John Lennon said the movie was ‘out of control’. 

Speaking after, he said they had more creative input with the first film and director Dick Lester didn’t tell them ‘what it was all about’. 

Despite their concerns, the film is still looked on favourably by most critics, with a rating of 9/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. 

McKern died in 2002 after establishing a reputation as a fine stage actor in the 1950s before turning to film. 

One of his most memorable performances was as the defence barrister in Rumpole of the Bailey. 

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