The Beatles and Film From Youth Culture to Counterculture
This concise yet comprehensive study explores the emblematic journey by four young men from Liverpool from the epicentre of teen-led youth culture to the experimentation of the counterculture and beyond.
Beginning with the celebration of Britain’s own ‘youthquake’ in the joyous and genre-shifting A Hard Day’s Night (1964), the author delves into how the Beatles’ film work allows us to chart their subsequent musical maturation and retreat from the tribulations of stardom in Help!, their tentative attempts at improvised filming in the televised Magical Mystery Tour (1967), their acceptance of cartoon representations as leaders of the hippie counterculture in Yellow Submarine (1968), and the final implosion of their musical dynamic in the recording studios of Let It Be (1970). The book analyses how, as they grew with their fanbase, the Beatles’ films alternate stylistically between mimetic representation and allegorical interpretation, and switch narratively between fan-filled and welcoming worlds, to films relaying introspection and isolation.
Offering an in-depth case study of the successes and failures of British youth culture in a volatile decade, The Beatles and Film is an engaging text for both scholars and general readers alike.
Series Editor Introduction
Introduction: Overviews and Origins
Chapter 1: The Beatles and Youth Culture: A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Chapter 2: The Beatles minus Youth Culture: Help! (1965)
Chapter 3: The Beatles and the Counterculture: Magical Mystery Tour (1967) and Yellow Submarine (1968)
Chapter 4: The Beatles’ Conclusion: Let It Be (1970) and Legacy
The strength of Glynn’s book is that it combines an illuminating analysis of the movies per se, based on the most recent tools of film and music studies, with a sociological insight of the era, providing a new angle from which to consider western youth culture.
Claude Chastagner, review for Cercles Journal of English Studies
The book draws on the Beatles’ five films released between 1964 and 1970 to chronologically explore the journey of these four Liverpool musicians from ‘the epicentre of teen-led youth culture’ to ‘the experimentation of the counterculture and beyond’. The analysis is used to examine the idea of youth culture itself ... It provides rich detail, including new material and ideas, and remains easily readable.
Ruth Garland, review for LSE Review of Books