18 September 2023

"Pete Best and The Beatles" — looking back on Birth of The Beatles

18 September 2023

"Pete Best and The Beatles" — looking back on Birth of The Beatles

Best of The Beatles: Pete proclaims to be as good as Ringo Starr

I recently had a trip down nostalgia lane with Birth of The Beatles (1979). I must've worn the VHS to an inch of its life as a kid. But enough about me.

Directed by Return of the Jedi's Richard Marquand, it's the only Beatles biopic made while John Lennon was alive. 

It's unknown whether John saw it in the 12 months leading up to his untimely death. It's also a mystery if any of the other Beatles saw/have seen it.

In a loophole allowing songs written by the Beatles to feature, every tune in the film was recorded by a Beatles tribute: Rain. They're good.

Nick Cotton as George Harrison. Nigel Havers as George Martin. And the bloke from 2point4 Children as Rory Storm (complete with a stutter).

Pete Best, infamously sacked for Ringo Starr, served as Technical Advisor. And it shows.

He's first in line to fight back against the thugs who jumped Stuart Sutcliffe. This attack was supposedly the cause of his death 15 months later. But that's never been confirmed.

Brian Epstein claims Pete was eliminated because John Lennon was "sick of the girls liking him and saying 'Pete Best and the Beatles'". To which John half-admittedly replies: "Maybe, Sigmund Eppy. Maybe".

Pete declares "all of Liverpool knows" Ringo isn't the better drummer — even Richard Starkey himself.

And Brian proclaims EMI liked his drumming. The truth is that EMI's George Martin, who knows a thing or two about these things, didn't think he could keep in time well. So, he wanted him out of the studio.

I can't fault the characterisations of the Fab Four, even Ringo's nose. Their Liverpudlian accents aren't cartoonish like in other Beatles biopics. The supporting actors also get Brian Epstein and George Martin spot on.

As Brian says:

Paul's the heart of the group, George is the soul, John's the mind and Ringo's the flesh and blood. 

Brian's sexual desire for John is evident. Wendy Morgan gives a powerhouse performance as Cynthia. The film's script is sharp. 

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