Beatles fans are urged to roll up and enjoy the return of this 1967 film, which is back in circulation boasting an extraordinary digital restoration. In this new edition, the production’s psychedelic hues have a deep vibrancy that was absent from the grainy prints that circulated for years.
Indeed, the restoration is so crisp and sharp that the swirl of colors in the “Flying” and “Your Mother Should Know” sequences are truly startling to behold – even the boldly intricate patterns decorating the band’s jackets for “I am the Walrus” and the eerie camera effects in “Blue Jay Way” have never looked so distinctive.
Equally delightful in this release are special features that include never-before-seen outtakes and behind-the-scenes tomfoolery from the production. There are also three intriguing deleted sequences: two interludes centered around comic supporting actors Ivor Cutler and Nat Jackley and a musical number featuring the band Traffic. If the Beatles had opted to include these sequences in the finished project, their self-produced and self-directed film might have turned into something more than a glorified home movie.
Of course, digital restoration can only do so much – “Magical Mystery Tour” is the Beatles’ weakest film, and the Fab Four’s insouciant charm barely hides the self-indulgent nature of this cheapjack and poorly conceived romp. There is a very good reason why this film was kept out of release for many years, and even the classic soundtrack cannot hide the Beatles’ ineptitude as filmmakers.
However, those who love the Beatles have learned to overlook the film’s many flaws, and this restored version helps to turn “Magical Mystery Tour” into a great-looking film, if not a great film.