That Mersey Sound: Beatles at the Stadium

That Mersey Sound: Beatles at the Stadium
Cinesound Movietone Productions
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This newsreel special of the 1964 Beatles tour captures footage of the band in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand, concert excerpts and the attendant 'Beatlemania’.

This clip begins with news footage of the Beatles standing on a balcony in Melbourne, waving to fans in the streets below. Paul McCartney plays with a boomerang and laughs with the crowd. The Beatles song 'Love Me Do’ is on the soundtrack while a sequence of Beatles albums, photographs and tabloid headlines are shown. Commentator Ken Sparkes describes the 'Beatlemania’ and the extensive merchandising that has accompanied it. Beatles fans are filmed outside the Sheraton Hotel in Kings Cross along with equally enthusiastic followers of Polish-American piano virtuoso Arthur Rubinstein (1887–1982) who is seen smiling as he is mobbed by the crowds. The Beatles arrive at Wellington Airport in New Zealand. John Lennon plays with a stuffed kiwi and Paul McCartney gives a traditional Maori greeting. Summary by Poppy De Souza

Historical news footage of significant cultural or social events can serve as a collective memory as well as a document of the times. This newsreel combines the live footage of the Beatles and their fans with shots of Beatles merchandise, pictures and headlines as the commentator contextualises the pop culture phenomenon of 'Beatlemania’. The story then moves back to scenes from the Beatles tour, including fans in Australia and New Zealand. Sparkes’s commentary observes the playfulness of both John Lennon and Paul McCartney in their interactions with the crowd. This clip is from the first half of the newsreel and is a prelude to the highlights from the Beatles concert at Sydney Stadium. The musicians are friendly and funny. By the end of the newsreel they are also shown to be extraordinary performers.

Notes by Poppy De Souza