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APPLE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr)
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
Featuring 27 of the Beatles' most significant singles, all of which reached #1 in the US or UK charts, this brand new Blu-Ray edition features all 27 promo videos.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English PCM Stereo
Subtitles:
None
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
German
Italian
Dutch

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $46.89
Release Date: 11/6/2015

Bonus:
Disc One:
• Three Audio Commentaries with Paul McCartney
• Four Introductions with Ringo Starr
Disc Two:
• 23 Bonus Videos
• One Audio Commentary with Paul McCartney
• One Introduction with Ringo Starr
Disc Three:
• Remastered 1 CD


• Booklet


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Beatles: 1+ [Blu-Ray] (1963-1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2016)

More than 50 years after the band debuted, the Beatles continue to produce never or rarely seen/heard content for fans. In this vein comes a 2015 compilation called 1, which offers a video collection to complement the mega-successful hits CD of the same name.

Actually, this review will examine 1+, the deluxe version of the 1 Blu-ray, but discussion of the “+” elements will wait for the “bonus materials” part of this review. Here I’ll cover the videos found on the basic 1 release. I’ll look at all 27 videos in the order presented. All together, they last one hour, 24 minutes and 29 seconds.

In addition to my comments, I’ll rate each video on a 1-10 scale. This is entirely subjective, of course, and it represents how entertaining I find the video itself to be, without consideration for song quality. Not that 1+ includes bad tunes, of course, but I like some much more than others!

Love Me Do (promo video, 1963): This was the Beatles’ first single but not their first video. Indeed, this piece cobbles together parts of a August 1963 TV performance with other odds and ends. It’s nothing special but it’s a decent slice of the Fabs in the first throes of Beatlemania. 5/10.

I do wonder why Paul looks so sweaty and shiny compared to the others, though. It also seems odd to see Ringo wailing on the cymbals even though the studio version – which we hear – includes no cymbals. (He played the cymbals for live renditions of the song, so the combo of this performance with the studio track leads to the disconnect.)

From Me To You (Royal Variety Performance, 1963): While “Love Me Do” paired live visuals with studio audio, “From Me to You” is live in all ways. That means it sounds a lot worse than its predecessor, but it’s a more exciting addition to the set, as it’s nice to see an actual stage performance from the early days of Beatlemania. I wouldn’t call it a great rendition – and the visuals have their problems – but it’s a good slice of history. 6/10.

She Loves You (Drop In, Sweden, 1963): Another live performance, though one captured in better shape than “From Me to You”. 53 years after its release, “She Loves You” remains a virtually perfect pop song, and this 1963 rendition soars. It captures all of the tune’s enthusiasm and becomes a real treat. 8/10.

I Want to Hold Your Hand (Late Scene Extras, Granada TV, 1963): After three straight clips taken from live performances, “Hand” gives us a true lip-synch affair – the absence of microphones is a pretty good hint that this was never live. The absence of cords from guitars is another – and the fact John and George strum acoustics while we hear electrics adds another clue for you all.

I don’t mind the miming, but the end result seems less than thrilling. The Beatles don’t look too thrilled to mime – Paul doesn’t even bother to “sing” some of his parts – so this one ends up as a mere historical curiosity. I love the song – it’s almost as good as “She Loves You” – but the video is fairly forgettable. 3/10.

Can’t Buy Me Love (Around the Beatles, 1964): This one looks like a live performance, but it’s not. While it offers a re-recorded version of the song, the Beatles lip-synched it in front of a studio audience.

And it turns into a real “WTF” affair, as the first part of the video leads one to believe John was the song’s lead singer! I like the inclusion of the re-recorded track, but the video itself is too odd to be very good. 4/10.

A Hard Day’s Night(Les Beatles, Paris, 1964): After the weirdness of “Can’t But Me Love”, we find a true live version of “A Hard Day’s Night” – and it’s a pretty good one, too, despite some iffy vocals from Paul. John and Paul look crazy sweaty, and the director makes some odd camera choices, but it’s always a treat to see live Beatles, so who am I to complain? 7/10.

I Feel Fine (promo video, 1965): With “I Feel Fine”, we get the first 1+ clip that actually exists as a true “music video”. The prior snippets came from TV specials, whereas this one existed as a tool to be aired in multiple places.

And it’s a weird piece, to say the least. Ostensibly, it’s just a lip-synch fake performance, but Ringo doesn’t play drums – instead, he rides an exercise bike. In addition, George sings into a punching bag.

It doesn’t look like anyone involved took things seriously, which turns into a minor negative. Sometimes a lack of interest results in inspired silliness, but here the Fabs just look bored and vaguely annoyed to have to bother with the shoot. Still, it’s so fricking odd that I like it. 6/10.

Eight Days a Week (promo video, Shea Stadium, 1965): On the surface, one would expect this to be a straight performance clip from the legendary 1965 Shea concert. Instead, it’s a montage of snippets that combines behind the scenes tidbits with stage material. Note that the live shots come from other songs; they didn’t do “Eight Days a Week” at Shea, so the video cobbles together snippets that kinda sorta look like they’re from that song.

In the end, it’s not especially interesting. Indeed, fans will probably feel annoyed by this segment, as it just makes us want a Blu-ray from Shea even more! The footage looks really good, so “Eight Days a Week” feels like a tease more than anything else. 2/10.

Ticket to Ride (promo video, 1965): Ala “I Feel Fine”, “Ride” offers a true video – albeit a less odd one than “Fine”. It may be the least energetic video ever made, as all the Fabs but Ringo sit as they “perform”.

No one invests much in this endeavor, and one fears John may actually fall asleep mid-song. Ringo barely attempts to fake his drumming much of the time, and John doesn’t always move his mouth when he needs to “sing”.

Even so, there’s a weird charm about the video. Whereas I thought “I Feel Fine” was strange in a lazy way, the lack of enthusiasm for “Ride” seems more endearing somehow. I can’t explain it, but I like it. 5/10.

Help! (promo video, 1965): Simplicity rules once again, as this video sits the Beatles in a straight line to lip-synch. Ala “I Feel Fine”, Ringo again doesn’t pretend to play – our boy Rich gets stuck holding an umbrella! That comes in handy when the video introduces fake snow that falls on the Beatles toward the end.

Why? I have no idea – because it was the Sixties? Like the other promos, this one lacks energy, but it’s still watchable enough. 5/10.

Yesterday (Ed Sullivan Show, 1965): After a few true videos, we get a straight live performance here. It’s more than competent, but many fans will already have this clip, as it showed up on Ed Sullivan Presents the Beatles in 2003.

I understand that this package needed some version of “Yesterday” since it’s part of the 1 album, but the blandness of the segment and the redundancy factor makes it a disappointment. It would’ve been better if the disc’s producers used one of the full-band renditions from a real concert. 2/10.

Day Tripper (promo video, 1965): After a few videos that at attempted some creativity, “Day Tripper” goes the easy route, as it just shows basic performance lip-synching. No exercise bikes, no umbrellas – just the Fabs as they pretend to play the song. That lack of imagination makes it less than compelling. 3/10.

We Can Work It Out (promo video, 1965): The video for “We Can Work It Out” comes from the same shoot as “Day Tripper” and feels like a near clone, though at least it offers a few more interesting camera choices. That’s enough to make it slightly better but still fairly ordinary. 4/10.

Paperback Writer (promo video, 1966): Only the second clip in color – after the Shea material – “Paperback Writer” offers the first sequence that really resembles a modern music video. The prior promos were amateurish, but “Writer” shows more creativity.

Sure, at its core, it’s another lip-synch clip, but it puts the Beatles in an unusual garden setting and comes with much more creative camera and editing selections. All of this makes it a solid video, even though I feel sad again for poor Ringo – he gets no drums to play, so he mostly looks depressed and stoned. (Though he probably didn’t just “look” stoned!) It’s a well-made video. 9/10.

Yellow Submarine (from the film Yellow Submarine, 1968): As I mentioned with “Yesterday”, I understand that the folks who compiled this set needed “videos” for each 1 song, and their choices were often limited. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy with lazy clips such as this. It just offers a montage of sequences from the 1968 movie. Yawn. 1/10.

Eleanor Rigby (from the film Yellow Submarine, 1968): See what I wrote about “Yellow Submarine”? Just read that again, as it still applies here. 1/10.

Penny Lane (promo video, 1967): Though the “Paperback Writer” clip moved in that direction, “Penny Lane” – and its partner “Strawberry Fields Forever” – pushes even closer to the concept of the “real” music video. It’s much more conceptual than its predecessors and even comes with clever bits like a shot in which the Fabs trot past a stage with their instruments on it, apparently meant as a nod that they’re done with live performances. It’s not as good as the “Fields” video, but it’s still pretty radical for its time. 9/10.

All You Need Is Love (promo video, 1967): Fabs fans know that the band played the song for a worldwide broadcast called Our World. Fabs fans have also seen this segment many, many times, so its inclusion here doesn’t come as a revelation.

That said, it’s still fun to see. It’s not exactly fancy fare, as it offers little more than a visually complex studio session, but it captures the moment. 7/10.

Hello Goodbye (promo video, 1967): On the surface, “Hello Goodbye” offers a basic “lip-synch on stage” video, but it seems more interesting than most. It’s a kick to see the band in their Sgt. Pepper outfits, and a few creative visual choices show up along the way. It’s nothing remarkable, but it’s a lot of fun. Or maybe I just like the sexy dancing girls at the end. 8/10.

Lady Madonna (promo video, 1968): For this song, we get a montage of shots that show the Beatles in the studio – recording a different song. I’m not totally sure that none of the footage we see comes from “Lady Madonna”, but it’s clear that the vast majority emanated from a different session – one for “Hey Bulldog”, as we’ll see on Disc Two. I like the footage but think the cobbled-together nature of the footage makes this an iffy video. 4/10.

Hey Jude (promo video, 1968): Though host David Frost touts this as the Beatles’ first live performance in ages, that’s only partly true. Paul sings live – paired with studio vocals at times – and we also get actual vocals from John and the audience, but the instrumental parts come from the original studio recording.

Even so, this “live” version of “Hey Jude” succeeds. I like the involvement of the audience, and it’s great to hear alternate vocals from Paul. Simple as it may be, the video works. 8/10.

Get Back (promo video, 1969): This isn’t much of a “promo video”, as it just matches one recording of the song with rooftop footage from Let It Be. Like the Shea Stadium footage, it mostly makes me wish we got a Blu-ray release of Let It Be. 4/10.

The Ballad of John and Yoko (promo video, 1969): “Ballad” offers an odd one. Parts of it fall into the “conceptual video” realm, such as when we hear the line about Peter Brown on the phone – and see Brown pick up a phone. We also get footage of John and Yoko as they do their thing.

Lots of recording studio footage appears, and as far as I can tell, none of it stems from the session for “Ballad”. As fans know, only Paul and John recorded “Ballad” – Ringo and George were unavailable that day and John didn’t want to wait. Obviously this ensures all the shots with George and Ringo came from other sessions.

Despite the video’s “mixed bag” nature, it’s still enjoyable. It feels more like a “real video” than many and it includes a reasonable amount of good footage. It never becomes special but I like it well enough. 6/10.

Something (promo video, 1969): A rarity here, “Something” offers no performance footage of any sort. Instead, it completely revolves around footage of the Beatles and their wives – with a moderate emphasis on George and Pattie, of course, since it’s George’s song.

This tends to make the video a bit incoherent, mainly because it doesn’t feel like the Paul/Linda shots were filmed specifically for the video. All the others show similar styles, whereas Paul/Linda don’t match. Still, it’s nice to see a true conceptual video. 7/10.

Come Together (promo video, 2000): Created to promote the 2000 1 CD, this one gives us a CG animated affair – a poorly animated affair, at that. It doesn’t fit the song at all, it makes John look oddly like Pikachu from Pokemon, and it doesn’t work. 1/10.

Let It Be (promo video, 1969): Remember my comments for “Get Back”? They apply here as well, though the visuals match the music better for “Let It Be” than they did for “Get Back”. Still, it’s not much of a video, as it just shows a studio run-through of the song shot for Let It Be - and it continues to make me want a Blu-ray for the whole movie. 4/10.

The Long and Winding Road (from the film Let It Be, 1969): Visually, “Road” offers a near duplicate of “Let It Be”, but it comes with a more “honest” performance, as it doesn’t overdub the final studio version of the song on top of the images. It’s a nice, simple rendition – sans the Phil Spector overdubs Paul hated so much – and even though it feels like another teaser for the Let It Be movie, it’s enjoyable. 5/10.

Even though I didn’t give many of the videos on 1+ high number ratings, I don’t intend that to construe that I disliked the collection. I tried to be fairly objective with those numbers and not give everything high ratings just because a) I love the Beatles and b) it’s always a delight to see them.

I do have to admit that many of these videos would be much less entertaining if made by another band. That “Beatles ‘It Factor’” does a lot to maintain interest even when the actual videos seem pedestrian. Let’s face it: the 1960s was the Dark Ages in terms of music videos, so one can’t expect sophisticated production values most of the time. These were often cheap, easy creations meant to promote records – any artistic merit was usually coincidental.

All these caveats aside, I did really enjoy 1+. The set boasts a nice collection of songs and most of the videos are fun to watch. One shouldn’t expect deep, meaningful videos most of the time, but they’re still great to see.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus A

The Beatles: 1+ appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the range of clips found here, the visuals seemed up and down, but they were more than acceptable.

That wide variety of clips does make it impossible for me to offer concrete assessments of picture quality beyond my feeling that the videos looked as good as one could hope. For the pre-1966 videos, quality appeared pretty nice overall. Of course, some softness occurred, and the black and white elements could seem somewhat mushy. Still, the images came across as fairly well-rendered given the nature of the source.

Matters improved markedly with 1966’s Paperback Writer. Shot on film, it offered a visual revelation and nearly popped off the screen. Similarly excellent image quality accompanied “Penny Lane” and “Hello Goodbye” as well. They demonstrated solid sharpness, terrific colors and generally smooth reproduction. The two videos from Yellow Submarine also looked strong, as expected.

The other 1966-1970 videos offered mostly good visuals, though not at the same level as the clips mentioned in the last paragraph. Parts of these videos could look very nice, but they also came with occasional soft/murky elements, and the colors were less dynamic.

For most of the videos, source flaws seemed surprisingly absent. Some of the early clips suffered from video-related artifacts – like lights that bloomed – and the Let It Be videos portrayed more than a few defects. In particular, gate hairs during the song “Let It Be” threatened to overwhelm the image! A few other minor defects cropped up elsewhere, usually via archival footage in videos like “Ballad of John and Yoko”.

Despite those instances, the clips tended to be surprisingly clean. They showed a nice layer of grain when appropriate and seemed to represent the source material well. At worst, the videos looked pretty good, and at best, they seemed stunning. I felt very happy with the picture quality on display here.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of 1+, it didn’t reinvent the wheel. While the songs got multichannel remixes, these tended to stay focused on the stereo spectrum, so we didn’t get a lot of material from the rear speakers.

Really, use of the back channels popped up only a few notable times. I didn’t hear any unique surround elements until we got to the two Yellow Submarine songs, and after that, the rear speakers seemed pretty passive the rest of the way.

This made me wonder why the disc’s producers bothered to create 5.1 mixes. The package provides a stereo option, so it’s not like they had to protect the integrity of the source. I don’t think the remixes needed to go “surround crazy”, but they should’ve done more – I don’t see the point of 5.1 tracks that essentially remained stereo.

Some of the songs lacked the wherewithal to spread much due to the nature of the source recordings. That occurred with the live versions of early songs; multitracks wouldn’t exist for those, so they couldn’t be recreated as 5.1 versions in an organic manner.

Since the original tapes for “Love Me Do” no longer exist, it also needed to be reworked without access to the original tapes – and the earliest Beatles recordings were two-channel anyway, so there’s not a lot that could be done with them.

Rather than stay monaural for one-track recordings like the live material, the 5.1 mix went with “broad mono” that filled the front speakers. For the most part, this seemed fine – except for “From Me to You”. That song spread out the material in a loose, unnatural manner that didn’t work. It sounded much better when played via the disc’s stereo option; it still wasn’t “actual stereo”, but it came across as better focused and clearer.

Other live recordings seemed more satisfying. Though tracks like “She Loves You” opted for “broad mono” as well, the results appeared a lot more listenable than the muddy “From Me to You”.

I’ll probably opt for the standard stereo mixes when I watch 1+ in the future. The 5.1 soundscapes didn’t offer much to broaden the 2.0 material, and in some instances, the 5.1 didn’t work as well.

Except for that loose, boomy “From Me to You”, audio quality seemed very good. As was the case with the visuals, sound depended on the source, which meant the handful of early live recordings fared the worst. Other than the 5.1 “From Me to You”, though, I thought these tracks offered perfectly positive audio; they weren’t up to the level of studio tracks, but they showed better than reasonable clarity.

The majority of the videos used those studio recordings, and these delivered excellent audio quality. Vocals were crisp and distinct, and instrumentation sounded clear and smooth, with tight highs and warm lows. Although I thought the 5.1 remixes weren’t especially valuable, the songs sounded great.

With that, let’s go to the set’s extras. On Disc One, we get three audio commentaries from Paul McCartney. He chats during “Penny Lane”, “Hello Goodbye” and “Hey Jude”. Paul gives us some basic memories of the videos, but he doesn’t provide great insights. Still, it’s fun to hear him reminisce.

Disc One also includes four introductions from Ringo Starr. The drummer discusses “Penny Lane”, “Hello Goodbye”, “Hey Jude” and “Get Back”. In these, we see Ringo watch parts of the videos and make some remarks.

Ringo offers some of the same info from Paul’s chats and doesn’t tell us a lot overall. As was the case with Paul’s commentaries, it’s enjoyable to spend a few moments with Ringo, but his intros don’t give us much detail.

In addition to the 27 clips on Disc One, Disc Two provides a 23 more music videos. All together, these fill a total of one hour, 21 minutes and 14 seconds. I’ll discuss those in the same manner I covered the pieces on Disc One.

Twist and Shout (Scene at 6:30, Granada TV, 1963): Recorded for a TV program, this one offers the most basic of lip-synch performances. Essentially it comes with two camera angles: John as he sings and Paul/George as they sing. It’s most notable for the odd positioning of John on stage right and Paul/George on stage left. 4/10.

Baby It’s You (promo video, 1995): Created to sell the first Live at the BBC release, we get the expected radio performance of the song along with a montage of photos and film. Some of the footage seems appealing – especially when we see the Fabs vamp in front of the BBC studios – but overall, this becomes a forgettable clip. 3/10.

Words of Love (promo video, 2013): And here we get a video made to market the second Live at the BBC package! Like its predecessor, it mostly shows archival footage, but in a silly choice, it adds lots of poorly done CG animation to go with the band’s Beatlemania “rollercoaster ride”. Someone must have thought this was a good idea – I’m not that person. 1/10.

Please Please Me (Ed Sullivan Show, 1964): My comments about the clip of “Yesterday” on Disc One continue to apply here. It’s a good version of “Please Please Me” but it’s also one fans will likely already own. On its own, though, it’s enjoyable. 5/10.

I Feel Fine (promo video, 1965): Back on Disc One, we saw the Fabs mime to “I Feel Fine” in a stark setting with a punching bag and an exercise bike. Disc Two’s version places them in the same location, but this one shows them as they eat fish and chips. A few shots almost make it look like John’s singing the lyrics, but I think those are coincidental -–the "video” was shot during a break and doesn’t appear to be an attempt to mime the tune.

All of this leaves the “fish and chips” version one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen – and strangely entertaining in its own way. No one will call it art, but it’s kind of fun. 6/10.

Day Tripper (The Music of Lennon and McCartney, Granada TV, 1965): I thought the “Day Tripper” video on Disc One seemed pretty lazy, but Disc Two’s offers a little more imagination – though not a lot. It starts out on a promising note, as the video opens with “mod” female dancers, but then we just watch the Beatles as they lip-synch – the dancers run away and we never hear from them again. Sigh! 4/10.

Day Tripper (promo video, 1965): Wow – a third version of “Day Tripper”! And it’s the most creative of the bunch, though “creative” remains a relative term. On one hand, the Fabs still simply mime the song, but the video places them in odd sets, and those add a smidgen of spark. Just watching Ringo destroy parts of the set is enough to make this the best of the three “Day Tripper” clips. 5/10.

We Can Work It Out (promo video, 1965): Now we find a second version of “We Can Work It Out”, but it doesn’t differ much from the one on Disc One. Honestly, beyond a change in clothes, there’s not much to differentiate the two. 4/10.

Paperback Writer (promo video, 1966): Unlike the artsy “Paperback Writer” on Disc One, this version offers a simpler lip-synch in the studio clip. It’s more creative than its predecessors, as it comes with a variety of camera angles and other visual touches, but it’s not nearly as good as Version One. 6/10.

Rain (promo video, 1966): Shot during the same sessions that gave us Disc One’s “Paperback Writer”, “Rain” works – but not as well. Clearly all involved invested more creativity in the video for “Paperback Writer”, which made sense, since it was the single and not the B-side. Still, “Rain” seems unusual for its time and works reasonably well. 6/10.

Rain (promo video, 1966): This version of “Rain” resembles Version Two of “Paperback Writer”, as it’s another basic lip-synch video. However, it seems less varied and creative when compared to the alternate “Paperback”, and the fact it’s black and white doesn’t help. It’s nice as an archival piece, but it’s not much of a video. 4/10.

Strawberry Fields Forever (promo video, 1967): A companion to Disc One’s “Penny Lane” video, “Strawberry Fields Forever” offers a clip that feels much more like a modern video than its predecessors. It’s less coherent and trippier than “Penny Lane”, but so is the song, so this makes sense. It’s a weird little masterpiece of its age. 10/10.

Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows (promo video, 2006): Made to promote the >Love show/CD, this video creates a montage that uses a mix of circa 1967 snippets in a psychedelic manner. It’s not great, but it’s one of the more effective of the “modern day” videos. 5/10.

A Day In the Life (promo video, 1967): A montage video, this one mostly consists of footage from the Sgt. Pepper’s sessions, with a mild emphasis on “Life” itself. It all gets the requisite trippy/psychedelic makeover, which works fine. Honestly, I’d rather see this footage in documentary format, as it doesn’t really suit the song, but there’s still good material to see here. 5/10.

Hello Goodbye (Version 2) (promo video, 1967): Time for another alternate take, though not one that varies its predecessor’s template much. The Fabs still lip-synch the song and they do it on the same stage – they just wear different clothes this time, as they abandon the Pepper’s outfits. Paul plays a Rick with a different paint job, too.

Otherwise, this seems a lot like Version One – right down to the hula girls at the end. Even so, Version Two is a lot of fun, partly due to the shots that show John and Ringo together, as they exchange glances that make the whole video worthwhile. It may be somewhat redundant, but it’s still a blast. 8/10.

Hello Goodbye (Version 3) (promo video, 1967): Version Three should be called “Hello Goodbye – The Blooper Reel”. It mixes shots from the sessions for Versions One and Two but emphasizes silliness. That’s fine with me, as it creates a fun little romp. 7/10.

Hey Bulldog (promo video, 1968): As mentioned earlier, the video for “Lady Madonna” largely came from footage shot during the recording of “Hey Bulldog”. That means this video’s material will look familiar to a large degree, but it makes a whole lot more sense here. It’s nice to see recording studio footage that actually matches the song – one of the great lesser-known Fabs tracks, too! As a slice of the band at work, it’s very good. 7/10.

Hey Jude (Alternative Version) (promo video, 1968): Like Version One, the Beatles shot this “Jude” for David Frost. It uses a different intro and much of an alternate take, so we get a different vocal from Paul. It’s not a substantial change from the “regular” video, but I like it. With a looser vocal from Paul, it might even be better than the other version. 8/10.

Revolution (promo video, 1968): Also shot for David Frost, on the surface, “Revolution” provides nothing more than a mimed performance, albeit one with live vocals. That’s what it offers beneath the surface as well, but it’s still awesome, mainly due to those live vocals. This has always been my preferred version of the song, so I love the video as well. 9/10.

Get Back (Let It Be… Naked Version) (promo video, 1969): Created to sell 2003’s Let It Be… Naked album, this video uses that release’s version of the song and pairs it with footage from the recording sessions. It’s a bit of a melange but it gives us a decent look at the song’s creation – and still makes me irritated there’s no Blu-ray of Let It Be. 5/10.

Don’t Let Me Down (promo video, 1969): Where would this collection be without Let It Be? Much shorter, obviously. This offers one of the better of the Let It Be clips, though, and it gives us a good view of the song. 6/10.

Free As a Bird (promo video, 1995): The first “new” Beatles song in 25 years, “Bird” came from the first Anthology release. We see no new footage of the then-surviving Beatles, as “Bird” mixes archival bits of the Fabs with newly-created materials, all intended to refer to various songs.

That makes “Bird” a highly clever video, as it prompts fans to play “spot the reference”. It loses some points solely because the visual effects have held up poorly over the last 20 years – and it doesn’t help that the Blu-ray presents the video in windowboxed 1.78:1, which means we get an enormous black border around the visuals. I assume this was an unfortunate outgrowth of the original footage, but it still makes the video tough to watch – literally. 7/10.

Real Love (promo video, 1996): And here we get the second - and final – “new” Beatles track! As a song, I always preferred “Real Love” to “Bird”, as I think it’s peppier and more “Beatley”.

As a video, though, “Real Love” is less interesting than “Bird”. It’s not much more than a mix of archival footage and shots of the Threetles from 1994/95. It’s a watchable clip but nothing better than that. 5/10.

Disc Two gives us one more Paul McCartney commentary and another Ringo Starr introduction. Both men discuss “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and they provide notes similar to those found on Disc One. That means a few minor memories but nothing great.

Both discs offer a Jukebox feature. This lets you program a playlist with up to 27 tracks. I guess it could come in handy, but I doubt I’ll ever use it.

Disc Three gives us a CD copy of 1. This offers the same 27 songs on Disc One – and on the original 1 CD from 2000 – but here they’ve been remixed.

And remixed with erratic results. I appreciate the chance to hear moderately different mixes of these songs, but I don’t think they’re especially successful. I’ll stick with the original mixes.

The package also comes with a booklet. Actually, at 128 pages, “booklet” seems like a weak description of the text. It provides “an appreciation” from Mark Ellen as well as photos and background notes about all of the songs/videos across both Blu-rays. The booklet complements the set well.

With 1+, we get a fine collection of Beatles music videos. These lack the sophistication that the format would boast even a decade later, but they’re entertaining and a nice slice of Fabs life. Picture and audio seemed very good, and with a slew of bonus videos, supplements became satisfying. Any “serious” Beatles fan needs to own this set.

Footnote: in addition to this two-BD 1+, a single-disc 1 Blu-ray also exists. It offers the 27 videos on 1+’s first platter but loses the 23 videos on Disc Two as well as the 1 CD. I believe it includes a booklet but not the same 128-page text in 1+.

Because it costs about half the price of 1+, some fans may feel tempted to just get 1. Don’t do it! Even if you don’t care about the remixed CD, Disc Two includes far too much essential material to be ignored. I can’t recommend 1 to anyone - 1+ is the only way to go.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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