A fully restored edition of The Beatles’ long out-of-print third feature film, “Magical Mystery Tour,” will arrive this fall in theaters and for home viewing.
Apple Films has fully restored the film for an Oct. 9, 2012, release in America (Oct. 8, 2012 worldwide); it features a remixed soundtrack (5.1 and stereo) and special features. Fans who want to catch the Fab Four on the big screen can check out the movie’s limited theatrical release in certain territories starting Sept. 27.
“Magical Mystery Tour” will be available in DVD and Blu-ray packages, and in a special, 10” x 10” boxed deluxe edition. The deluxe edition includes both the DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a 60-page book with background information, photographs and documentation from the production, and a faithful reproduction of the mono double 7-inch vinyl EP of the film’s six new Beatles songs, originally issued in the U.K. to complement the film’s 1967 release. The restoration of “Magical Mystery Tour” has been overseen by Paul Rutan Jr. of Eque Inc., the same company that handled the much-acclaimed restoration of “Yellow Submarine.” The soundtrack work was done at Abbey Road Studios by Giles Martin and Sam Okell.
All of the packages contain a host of special features, including unseen footage. There are newly-filmed interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and other members of the film’s cast and crew, as well as a director’s audio commentary recorded by Paul.
In September 1967, in the wake of the impact of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” abum and the Our World satellite broadcast of “All You Need Is Love,” The Beatles loaded a film crew onto a bus along with friends, family and cast and headed west on the A30 out of London to make their third film, this time conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves.
“Paul said, ‘Look I’ve got this idea,’ and we said, ‘Great!’ and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top – that’s where we started,” explains Starr.
“Magical Mystery Tour” is a dreamlike story of a coach day trip to the seaside. It follows a loose narrative and showcases six songs: “Magical Mystery Tour,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Flying,” “Blue Jay Way,” and “Your Mother Should Know.”
“It wasn’t the kind of thing where you could say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to see is the product of our imaginations and believe me, at this point they are quite vivid,’” McCartney says.
“Magical Mystery Tour” features a fabulous supporting cast of character actors and performers, including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the inimitable Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Although the 53-minute film was shot in colour, it premiered on U.K. television in black and white. Broadcast by BBC1, the film immediately attracted widespread controversy as middle England and the establishment media erupted with indignation. Partly as an result of this adverse reaction, the film never had a U.S. broadcast and very limited distribution in the rest of the world.
Apple & EMI have partnered with Omniverse Vision, the leading distributor of music events to cinemas worldwide, to bring exclusive showings of “Magical Mystery Tour” to the big screen for the first time. Screenings will take place in select cinemas in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan and other countries worldwide beginning Sept. 27, 2012. Once confirmed, theater listings will be available at www.thebeatles.com
In addition, The British Film Institute has announced a special Oct. 2, 2012, screening of “Magical Mystery Tour” at BFI Southbank; tickets are now available from the BFI website.
Special features included with the new release are:
• Director’s commentary by Paul McCartney
• A 19-minute documentary, “The Making of The Magical Mystery Tour”
• Interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as other cast and crew members
The new release also showcases previously unseen footage, including:
• “Ringo The Actor,” where Ringo reflecting on his role in the film (2:30)
• “Meet The Supporting Cast,” which explores the background and careers of Nat Jackley, Jessie Robins, Ivor Cutler, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Victor Spinetti, George Claydon, and Derek Royle (11:27)
• New edits of performances of “Your Mother Should Know” (2:35), “Blue Jay Way” (3:53) and “The Fool On the Hill” (3:05) with footage not seen in the original film
• “Hello Goodbye” (3:24) as featured on “Top Of The Pops” in 1967. The Beatles allowed the BBC to film them in the edit suite where they were working on “Magical Mystery Tour.” This was then turned into a promo by the BBC, which shot its own additional footage, and was broadcast on Top of the Pops to mark the ‘Hello Goodbye’ single going to No. 1 in December 1967.
• “Nat’s Dream” (2:50), a scene directed by Lennon, featuring Nat Jackley, that was not included in the original film.
• “I’m Going In A Field” (2:35) performed in a field by Ivor Cutler and excluded from the original film
• “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” (1:53) performed by Traffic. The film showing Traffic acting out its 1967 hit single was commissioned by The Beatles for possible inclusion in “Magical Mystery Tour” but did not make the final edition.