John Lennon can be heard playing the opening notes to "Strawberry Fields Forever" during one scene in a hotel room. The song would not be released until years later, but this is an indication that Lennon had the melody in his head for quite some time. See more »
The end credits on the original video release of THE BEATLES: THE FIRST U.S. VISIT erroneously gave the composer credit for "Till There Was You" to Richard Rodgers. Subsequent releases corrected this credit and accurately gave Meredith Willson credit for composing the song. See more »
[At a press conference at Kennedy Airport.]
Can you please sing something for us?
Is it because you can't sing?
No, we need money first.
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It was madness, a frenzy, a pop-music explosion that still has barely been topped in the US for sheer virtuosity and awareness. After holding off on an official US mini-tour until they got some top 10 hits- and then suddenly getting THREE that were simultaneously number 1- 72 million people, more or less depending on who's reporting, watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show when they finally played in New York city on his nightly program (the filmmakers, Al and David Maysles, couldn't get permission to film in the CBS studio, so they just went across the street and found an apartment with a family watching it instead). In short, Hard Day's Night wasn't quite as zany fiction but a skewed documentary.
For The First US Visit, on the fly and almost by total luck, the Maysles capture the Beatles in all their personal humor, affability, and knack with dealing with the press or the common fan (or just a little girl at one down-to-earth moment). It was the start of their particular, wonderful style of "cinema truth", where there are barely any interviews, the camera and sound is so technologically simple that they can film practically anywhere, and it verged on being a home movie. There are moments when it does become a home movie, which might be a flaw not really either the Beatles or the Maysles' fault. The approach is so new that the Beatles themselves- according to Al on the extras on the DVD- were utterly curious about how the equipment worked, and would sometimes, as would be the case during the first thrust of "Beatlemania", be self-conscious and look at the camera.
But the feeling for the most part is so natural and cool that we get to just see what the Beatles were like... which, of course, are the Beatles in all their fun, their minor moments of seriousness, their whole bewilderment at how MAMMOTH their coming to America had become. The Maysles can capture that and little details (i.e. a woman in the background of a radio station playing a song and grooving along), which is great since the documentary is inter-cut with footage from the two Sullivan appearances (NYC and Miami) and a concert at Washington DC, shot live at times like a boxing match from afar. It's the 'early' period, and it's loaded with the crying and screaming girls, and those wonderful hits "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Twist and Shout." It's all very sweet nostalgia and fun for the Beatles fan. 9.5/10
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