by Eddie M
Once upon a time in 1964 the Beatles released their black and white film 'A Hard Day's Night followed in 1965 by their colour film Help!. That's how it was, either black and white or colour with sometimes with a bit of tint.
Then what is known as the art of colourisation (or colourization in the US) appeared on the scene.
At first you could keep track of the few films being colourised in the UK, some were a bigger success than others but I remember one of the first big projects to be colourised was the video collection of Laurel & Hardy films, some fans were disappointed with the results but as technology moved on the films have gone through the same process and the results are of a much higher standard.
All we, as Beatles fans wanted was the process to be applied to A Hard Day's Night, of course this opened a can of worms, it was sacriledge to suggest that the Beatles black and white classic should be turned into a glorious colour fest, but if it is you'll still have the original black and white classic.
I forget the year but VH1 had come onto the scene in the UK, it was a decent music channel, a great alternative to MTV.
You could check into their video channel but sometimes you could never leave!
One night that I can only date pre-Beatles Anthology, 1995 a glorious remastered film of the Beatles song Let It Be was broadcast, followed by another glorious remastered film of The Long and Winding Road, then wait for it, a wonderful colourised version of All You Need is Love, it even tried to trick you into thinking it was the original version as the first few seconds were in black and white before the colourisation kicked in.
Think The Wizard of Oz to get an idea of the impact this had on me. The fact that the Beatles themselves had sanctioned the process to be used on one of their promo films could open the floodgates and we'd finally get our dream. A Hard Day's Night in colour!
A colourised Hard Day's Night trailer
Of course it hasn't materialised but check out the trailer above to see what possibilities lie ahead and remember we still have the black and white classic!
The first Beatles video release to be partly colourised was the Beatles Explosion in 2007 where you can find a colourised version of the Beatles Shakespeare sketch.
In 2015 Ron Howard directed the The Beatles Eight Days a Week The Touring Years. a riveting documentary on their touring years. The film included a few short colourised sequences including one song live at Washington Coliseum.
Of course, as with the Beatles audio recordings the 'bootleggers' see an opportunity to make their own colourised films of the Beatles, especially with the technology becoming widely available and the process easier to use.
A search through You Tube reveals an abundance of Beatles colourised films, here's a few examples:
The Beatles at Empire Pool, Wembley UK performance of Can't Buy Me Love (Courtesy HD Beatles You Tube Channel)
Another source of this material is the 'world wide web' offering Beatles colourised films. I've seen the following for sale but please don't ask where!
As always the Beatles seem to be reluctant to embrace 'new' technology but I have faith in them. They need to bring the Beatles classic black & white years to a new audience and they've proved they have the technology to do it. Watch this space...