Backbeat [Special Edition] [DVD] [1994]

Iain Softley's Backbeat tells the story of the early years of the Beatles, focusing on John Lennon's friendship with the doomed Stuart Sutcliffe. This collector's edition DVD presents the film in a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. An English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, and a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Stereo. Supplemental materials include an entertaining commentary track from director Iain Softley and actors Ian Hart and Stephen Dorff. Softley and Hart talk of the extensive work that went into the planning of the film. An audio interview with Astrid Kirchner provides a nice augmentation to the film, as does additional interviews with Softley and Hart. A still photo gallery, and footage of the casting sessions round out this excellent release from Focus.
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Overview

Special Features

  • A Conversation With Astrid Kirchherr
  • Interviews with director Iain Softley and actor Ian Hart
  • Iain Softley interview for the Sundance Channel
  • Deleted scenes
  • TV featurette
  • Casting session
  • Director's essay
  • Photo gallery
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Backbeat
The Beatles' early days as a struggling bar band are depicted in this fact-based drama, which tells the little-known story of original member Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff). A close friend of John Lennon, Sutcliffe acts as the band's original bassist, accompanying them on their early gigs in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. The friendship becomes strained, however, when Sutcliffe falls in love with a German art student and starts to question his commitment to the band. With Sutcliffe's story taking center stage, the stories of the more famous Beatles largely fade into the background. The exception is John Lennon, thanks to a fierce performance by Ian Hart, who had previously portrayed the musician in the more intimate and provocative The Hours and the Times. While Backbeat does provide a new perspective on the band's beginning, and numerous opportunities for a group of modern rock musicians to recreate the band's energetic early performances, it never makes Sutcliffe's story seem more than a footnote to musical history. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Sheryl Lee
    Sheryl Lee - Astrid Kirchherr
  • Stephen Dorff
    Stephen Dorff - Stuart Sutcliffe
  • Ian Hart
    Ian Hart - John Lennon
  • Gary Bakewell
    Gary Bakewell - Paul McCartney
  • Kai Wiesinger
    Kai Wiesinger - Klaus Voormann
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