Saturday, August 11, 2018

Eight Arms to Hold You: 50 Years of Help! and the Beatles Hardcover – November 10, 2017 by Simon Wells (Author), Paul Skellett (Author) ( Antique collectors club / ACC Art Books)

The Beatles' zany second movie, "HELP!", is long overdue for critical reappraisal and documentation, and this book makes a respectable start at doing so. There is a nice amount of information and new photographs from the sets and behind the scenes and various bits of memorabilia and relics (e.g., reproductions of script pages, shooting schedules, etc.). This edition of what I think was originally a much pricier and larger volume is very handy for fans and readers on a budget. I have reservations about the layout and presentation, however. Many of the illustrations and pictures are reproduced with "arty" effects, as collages, superimpositions, and so forth. This can be highly distracting and often obscures interesting details. There is arguably more attention devoted to extraneous elements and period esoterica than merited, and some of it is just flat wrong (the Batman TV show dates from 1966, not 1965, as does Star Trek). But the most aggravating problem is that sometimes the text captions do NOT match the pictures, or describe photos that appear earlier or later in the book -- or not at all! Did no one edit or check this layout before printing? I also note that some of the writing style is insufferably breezy and flip, often tangled up in its own cheery irony and in-jokiness to the point of incomprehensibility. Music journalism has become suffused with this style, unfortunately, and it does the book and its subject no credit. And yeah-yeah-yeah, we all know about the Fabs enjoying the herbal jazz cigarettes during this period, but to belabor the point on every other page after a while gets very tiresome and seems pointless.

The follow-up to the successful Hard Day's Night, with rare unseen photos

Help! is considered the forerunner to contemporary rock musicals and pop videos, with rare unseen photos
The film includes a host of classic tracks such as Ticket To Ride, You're Going To Lose That Girl, and the title track, Help!

"Remarkable as it may seem, but this is the first book on The Beatles' film Help! and that in itself a rare milestone in Fab Four history. So put down your mobile phone, turn off your satellite TV and unplug the internet and travel back 50 years to wallow in the beauty of The Beatles as never presented before. It may seem clichéd to say this, but truly, a splendid time is guaranteed for all." Simon Wells, from the introduction.

Eight Arms to Hold You is a unique publication. It features both rare and unseen photos and materials from the movie Help!, drawn from archives on all four corners of the planet; all of which is forensically remastered by one of the country's best forensic art and image restorers, Paul Skellett. The book is curated by world renowned Beatles author, Simon Wells ( Beatles 365 Days and Beatles Japan ).

This is one of the most meticulously researched and restored Beatles titles to date, with support from Rex Features Archive, The British Film Institute, The Pete Nash Collection, The Vincent Vigil Collection, The Mark Hayward Collection, The Cavern Club, The Beatles Story Museum, The Hard Days Night Hotel, The Beatles Fest and many other private collectors. Richard Lester, the legendary director of Help! has also lent his assistance in releasing parts of his private collection (including the original hand noted script) as well as being part of the book's final approval process. The project has renowned Beatles researcher and author Simon Wells on board to curate and narrate the story, with specialist forensic art and photography restorer, Paul Skellett handling the full image remastering process.

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