In a new BBC Radio 4 Beatles radio special, “Celluloid Beatles,” that premiered Sept. 14 and is available online for a week, Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn reveals the Beatles considered making films with directors Franco Zeffirelli, Jean-Luc Godard and Patrick McGoohan, star of the cult favorite TV series, “The Prisoner.”
“Because the Beatles were big fans of 'The Prisoner,'” Lewisohn says. The group allowed the use of “All You Need Is Love” in the show's final episode.
“With McGoohan, I think they definitely wanted to do something creative with him,” Lewisohn says. “But, for one reason or another, none of these things happened.”
The BBC 4 program, produced by Miranda Sawyer, looks at the making of the films they released. It also mentions films they considered but never made, including Richard Condon's Western “A Talent for Loving,” a remake of “The Three Musketeers” co-starring Brigitte Bardot and Joe Orton's “Up Against It.”
“A Hard Day's Night” director Richard Lester says John Lennon helped provide the direction of that film.
“'Round about that time, we'd just come back from Stockholm. And I said, 'How did you like it?' And John said, 'What do mean like it? It was a car and a room, a room and a car, and a plane and a car. That gave us not only a philosophic concept, but a visual approach.”
And also one of the movie's lines, as well.
The 30-minute program features observations from “A Hard Day's Night” and “Help!” director Lestor, “Let It Be” director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Lewisohn, film lecturer Steve Glyn, poet Roger McGough of the Scaffold, who edited the script for “Yellow Submarine” and Roy Benson, who worked on “Magical Mystery Tour.”
Lewisohn is the author of an eagerly awaited Beatles biography trilogy. The first volume, “All These Years: Volume 1, Tune In” to be available in the U.S. and the UK, is just off the press in the UK. It'll be on the streets there first on Oct. 10 and on the streets Oct. 29 in the U.S.
The radio show will be available for online listening until Sept. 21.
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