There has been a nagging feeling among many Beatles fans that the “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years” film is only part of the story. And it is. It only covered the incredibly pressure-filled tours that never seemed to end during the Beatlemania years. The film, which came out on Nov. 18 on both DVD and Blu-ray, doesn't gain any added impact viewing it at home.
The special features in the deluxe two-disc versions add some badly needed perspectives that really should have been in the movie. The Words and Music section, which seems like a missing link to the film, has additional comments from each Beatle, including new interviews by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, which, according to an interview AXS conducted with producer Nigel Sinclair, were done before and after the filming. While McCartney has often given freely of his opinions about the Beatles, Ringo Starr has been much less vocal through the years. And it's refreshing to hear him give his technical perspective on the Beatles in the studio as he does here.
Also interesting is “Ronnie Spector and the Beatles,” in which Spector talks about touring with the group with the Ronettes. “Early Clues to a New Direction” also features some sharp viewpoints from people like Peter Asher and Richard Curtis. The deluxe DVD/Blu-ray versions come with a book filled with pictures and a great essay by Jon Savage.
There are some disappointments, too. The biggest is the “Recollections of Shea Stadium” feature is missing the full 30-minute concert footage shown in the theater. That's inexcusable as this would have been the perfect place to put it and would have really boosted the sales of the DVD deluxe version.
“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years” is a slightly above average documentary that should have relied more on the Beatles and their thoughts and less on outside opinions. But it was targeted to the general public, which is why the intensity wasn't as high as the superb “The Beatles Anthology.” Ultimately, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years” will be looked at as an added chapter to the “Anthology.” It certainly won't replace it.