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Beatles Newsreel in Technicolor/Techniscope – December 26, 1963

In this equally interesting item, British Pathé gives The Beatles the deluxe treatment with a newsreel shot in Techniscope (a CinemaScope-style process, using an anamorphic lens for a widescreen image), Technicolor, and, at least for the performance sections, sync sound, documenting a very, very early performance by the group in Manchester.

There’s lots of differences in the structure of this newsreel vs. the Stones newsreel, not the least of which is the clean-scrubbed image the Beatles project, as well as the proscenium arch approach to their performance, seen in the distance on a stage with a large curtain dramatically closing as they end their performance, as opposed to the rather scruffy circumstances that the Stones were obliged to perform in.

You can also see that Pathé sent a whole crew out to shoot this; there’s over-shoulder shots from the stage of the screaming audience, close-ups of the lads in mid-performance, wide shots that take in the entire theater. All in all, this newsreel, rather prosaically entitled “The Beatles Come to Town,” is top-of-the-line treatment for a pop act of the era, and clearly recognizes that the Beatles were soon to become international stars of the first magnitude.

You can view it here; again, click on the button for the fullscreen image.

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About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at 402.472.6064 or wdixon1@unl.edu. Visit him at his website wheelerwinstondixon.com.

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