Ron Howard’s documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week premiered on Hulu this month, and is a feat of archival filmmaking.
The film which has an ongoing cinematic rollout with no end in sight follows the Fab Four through the years of 1962 to 1966, when Beatlemania was in full force abroad to their ascendence in the States in 1964 and beyond. It takes a personal look at the camaraderie between the bandmates, their cheeky demeanors, and the otherworldly level of fandom they achieved so quickly. For a band that’s been immortalized on film, in literature, online, and in just about every media you could imagine, one might think that we’ve reached the brink of knowledge around who these guys were and their legacy. The film shatters that notion, with never-before-seen footage that’s been expertly researched and compiled to show a new side of the mop top crew.
In an article on Documentary Television, Peter Hamilton delves deeply into the process behind the multi-million dollar documentary. Interestingly enough, the story began in reverse, with the researchers combing through the archives upfront and then letting that footage unearth the story and narrative structure of the film. Thirty researchers worked around the world, crowdsourcing and researching established archives to find the treasure trove of footage of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Starting in familiar archives, and working its way through footage from fans and concert goers, to film reels that were literally laying underneath a couch for the last several decades, the team compiled a narrative fitting of the Beatlemania hysteria. Read more on how the project came together in this fascinating piece on Variety.