Advertisement

Acting Naturally: Performing The Beatles

  • Richard Wallace
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comedy book series (PSCOM)

Abstract

The discussion of the mockumentary comedy’s focus on rock stars begins with an analysis of The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. It is argued that The Beatles use the mockumentary form to negotiate their fame in a number of different ways. First, they parody highly pressurised aspects of their daily lives and turn them into moments of comic escapism. Second, they use the form to develop comic personas, related to, but separate from, their real selves. The significance of this self-performance is highlighted with reference to the observational documentary What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A., in which the band members are seen to be almost constantly acting up for the camera. As such the mockumentary frequently looks more like an observational documentary than the genuine documentary does.

References

  1. Altman, Rick (1989), The American Film Musical, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Carroll, Noël (1991), ‘Notes on the Sight Gag’, in Andrew S. Horton (ed.), Comedy/Cinema/Theory, Berkeley, Los Angeles and Oxford: University of California Press, pp. 25–42.Google Scholar
  3. Craske, Oliver, Roman Milisic, Julian Quance, and Braine Roylance (eds.) (2000), The Beatles Anthology, London: Cassell & Co.Google Scholar
  4. Dyer, Richard (1981), ‘Entertainment and Utopia’, in Rick Altman (ed.), Genre: The Musical, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., pp. 175–189.Google Scholar
  5. Glynn, Stephen (2005), A Hard Day’s Night, London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
  6. ——— (2013), The British Pop Music Film: The Beatles and Beyond, London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  7. King, Geoff (2002), Film Comedy, London; New York: Wallflower Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lewisohn, Mark (1996), The Complete Beatles Chronicle, London: Chancellor Press.Google Scholar
  9. Mamber, Stephen (1972), ‘Cinema-verite in America—Part II—Direct Cinema and the Crisis Structure’, Screen, 13(3), pp. 114–136.Google Scholar
  10. Mast, Gerald (1973), The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies, London: New English Library.Google Scholar
  11. McElhaney, Joe (2009), Albert Maysles, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  12. Neale, Steve, and Frank Krutnik (1990), Popular Film and Television Comedy, London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Neaverson, Bob (1997), The Beatles Movies, London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  14. Reiter, Roland (2008), The Beatles on Film. Analysis of Movies, Documentaries, Spoofs and Cartoons, London: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Romney, Jonathan (1995), ‘Access All Areas: The Real Space of the Rock Documentary’, in Jonathan Romney and Adrian Wootton (eds.), Celluloid Jukebox: Popular Music and Movies since the 50s, London: BFI Publishing, pp. 82–92.Google Scholar
  16. Saunders, Dave (2007), Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties, London; New York: Wallflower Press.Google Scholar
  17. Schlotterbeck, Jesse (2016), ‘A Hard Day’s Night as a Musical Biopic of the Post-Studio Era’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 33(6), pp. 567–579.Google Scholar
  18. Shaviro, Steven (1993), The Cinematic Body, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  19. Sinyard, Neil (1985), The Films of Richard Lester, London: Croom Helm Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Walker, Alexander (1974), Hollywood, England: The British Film Industry in the Sixties, London: Michael Joseph Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Waugh, Thomas (2011), ‘Acting to Play Oneself’, in Thomas Waugh (ed.), The Right to Play Oneself: Looking Back on Documentary Film, Minneapolis, MN; London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. Winston, Brian (1993), ‘The Documentary Film as Scientific Inscription’, in Michael Renov (ed.), Theorizing Documentary, New York; London: Routledge, pp. 37–57.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations