I could go on and on about this interview or that interview. My personal favorite is Jack Douglas, who produced Lennon’s final album, Double Fantasy, remembering his mad dash to relieve himself that resulted in cracking his head on the bathroom door frame. He managed to get up, but subsequently passed out after locking himself in the bathroom. It was Lennon himself who came to his aid after kicking in the door. I could tell you what Douglas’ first words to him were, but if you’re at all intrigued by the story, it’s far better to hear it for yourself.
The journey doesn’t end with the feature film though, as Swirsky has generously included an extra 30 minutes of interviews as a supplemental feature. It amounts to a bonus documentary, featuring the likes of Felix Cavaliere of The Young Rascals, a former member of McCartney’s Wings, Laurence Juber, and The Monkees’ Peter Tork, among others. Swirsky’s audio commentary offers great insight into his vision for this film. He even admits to being scared to watch his videotaped interviews for months, fearing he had messed up the audio or something similarly tragic. His inexperience as a documentarian adds a rather charming, rough-hewn quality to his film. Listening to his commentary offers a chance to better understand his passion to make Beatles Stories, regardless of his rookie filmmaker status. An extended interview with the Beatles’ first recording engineer, Norman “Hurricane” Smith (1923-2008), is included as well.
Whether you’re a casual or serious fan of the Fab Four, Beatles Stories is essential viewing. There are tons of surprising and introspective moments packed into its 85 minutes. In fact, the film flows so well it seems to pass by in half that time. Repeat viewing value is extremely high. Once you hear these stories, the chances are you’ll want to hear them again.