am 16. Oktober 2014
Eigentlich möchte man ja glauben, dass über die Beatles schon alles gesagt wurde. Eigentlich . . . Diese äußerst warmherzige und sehenswerte Dokumentation beweist einmal mehr, dass über die Beatles wohl noch nicht alles gesagt wurde. Finanziert mit ca. USD 50.000 über die Crowdfunding-Plattform Kickstarter entstand eine mehrfach ausgezeichnete Dokumentation. Freda Kelly, die Hauptperson in dieser Dokumentation, war Fan der ersten Stunde und dann im Alter von nur 17 Jahren Brian Epstein′s Sekretärin und als Fanclubbeauftragte des Beatles′ Fan Club beantwortete sie (natürlich nicht alleine) die Fanpost aller Beatles-Fans weltweit. Viele Mädchen gleichen Alters waren damals zweifelsohne neidisch auf Freda. Kaum jemand kam den Fab Four so nahe wie Freda und so erzählt sie in den knapp 90 Filmminuten ganz unaufgeregt, liebevoll und ohne sich selbst in den Vordergrund zu stellen über ihre Zeit mit den Beatles, deren Freunde und Familien. Einige Weggefährten von damals kommen zu Wort wie z.B. Tony Barrow (Pressesprecher der Beatles) und Billy Hatton (Mitglied der Liverpooler Band The Four Most – diese hatten damals einen Hit mit der Lennon-McCartney Komposition Hello Little Girl). Man sieht seltene und vielleicht noch nie gesehene Fotos und Filmschnipsel aus den Anfangsjahren der Beatles und kann noch einmal diese tolle Zeit quasi wieder erleben, in die eigene Jugendzeit zurückkehren und in Erinnerungen schwelgen. Erwähnenswert ist hier auch, dass nach der offiziellen Bandauflösung der Beatles in 1970, Freda noch 3 weitere Jahre, quasi als Nachlassverwalter, pflichtbewusst als Sekretärin des Beatles′ Fan Club auch noch die letzte Fanpost beantwortete. Das nenne ich Hingabe. Nur vier original Beatles Songs untermalen den Film – sie hätte da sicherlich mehr verdient. Am Ende des Films bedankt sich Ringo für Freda′s Einsatz für die Band, Paulchen nicht. Hatte er keine Zeit oder war er sich zu schade für diese Sache? Dies ist sicherlich eine der informativsten und authentischsten Dokumentation die je über die Beatles gemacht wurden. Meine spezielle DVD-R angefertigte Scheibe läuft einwandfrei. Keine Extras und in meinem Fall auch keine deutschen Untertitel, aber damit kann ich leben. Alles in allem wirkliche eine klare Kaufempfehlung.
am 7. Juni 2014
This film got some warm-up showings at Austin Texas' annual South by Southwest (SXSW) in March of 2013. It was met with rave reviews and from there was shown nationwide at the annual Fests for Beatles Fans. I saw it and love it!
Like the Scorcese documentary "Living in the Material World" and the Cirque du Soleil's "Love" tribute to the Beatles, the two surviving Beatles and their spouses as well as their bandmates' widows were approached and "Good Ol' Freda" got the nod from all directly involved. Ryan White who directed this stellar work did his homework and did it well. Nobody can argue with the high level of research that went into making this film.
What distinguishes this film from the myriad of films about the Beatles including documentaries is that it is not the cliche exposé that so many purporting to be documentaries are. Freda Kelly, the Beatles' secretary has lived privately and quietly and has only just come forward with her observations about her job. Freda is a very likable and sincere person and when she speaks, she really has something to say. Her children and grandson are also in the film and they all were in deep respect for this humble woman who chose not to cash in on the Beatles' name to fame.
Viewers get a fresh look at the Beatles as well as enjoying a damn good soundtrack. Freda shares photos of members of the Beatles' familes that had previously been unpublished. She was friends with Elsie Gleave Starkey, who viewed her as the daughter she wished she had and the sister she wished her son Ritchie (Ringo) had. I loved these accounts; one that was especially delightful was when she met the Harrisons and George's father Harry wanted to teach her how to do ballroom dancing. (Makes you think of their son George singing "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" in 1964.) Harry and Louise Harrison taught ballroom dancing for years and in the book "Living in the Material World," there is a picture of Harry and Louise going out dancing. There is a lovely picture of Harry dancing with Freda in this film. I had a bit of a giggle at that. Freda describes Harry and Louise much as George's first wife did - short in stature and delightfully Liverpudlian. The Harrisons were known to be extremely cordial and appreciative of their fans and made no bones about their appreciation for Freda's work with and for the Beatles.
"Good Ol' Freda" treats viewers to an array of lovely images. I especially loved the ones of Freda herself, then and currently taking walks by old stomping grounds and landmarks throughout Liverpool. As an added treat, Tony Barrow, who was the Beatles' press secretary was interviewed along with others who traveled that Long & Winding Road throughout the Beatles' careers.
Freda, solid and dependable was not one to act a fool and go wild over the Beatles. She kept a level head and a professional demeanor and took her job seriously and did it well. She became the "go-to" person where the Beatles were concerned; Pat Kinzer Mancuso even mentions Freda Kelly in her book, Do You Want to Know a Secret?: The Story of the Official George Harrison Fan Club. Freda was a regular guest in the Beatles' homes; she remained a welcome guest in the houses of Harrison and Starkey for years.
George Harrison's sister Louise has said on numerous interviews in recent years (you can catch her on LouTube) that most Britons are humble and not apt to bang on their own drum. That certainly is true on Freda's case. She has refused to write a tell all memoir after years of being asked to to so. Ten years after the Beatles came to America, she parted with her massive Beatles' collection. Darn shame, really. The collection alone would have been worth keeping.
Freda Kelly has rightfully earned a place of high respect. She has wisely chosen not to engage in "Devil's Radio," as George Harrison would have said. George, described by Louise from the time he was a very young boy was one who detested gossip and this was never more true than when he recorded the above mentioned song. Freda is a Godsend; by NOT downgrading anybody or telling titillating tales out of school, she has set a good tone and good example. This has reflected well on her and makes her all the more somebody you can respect. She is a far cry from Francie Schwartz!
Freda's own immediate family were not aware of her job and her contacts with the Beatles for many years. Her daughter Rachel was impressed with what she learned from watching the film as it was, as she said, mostly new and fresh information for her. Freda has shielded her family from the public eye and her current disclosures have sparked interests, which is natural. At no time does she compromise her standards.
The 1965 John Lennon classic is very a propos in re this film. "Some are dead and some are living/in my life, I've loved them all." The senior Harrisons, John's Aunt Mimi who raised him; Julia Stanley Lennon and Freddie ("that Alf Lennon" as the Stanley Sisters called him), Elsie Starkey Graves and Harry Graves, Richard Starkey Sr. and Mary and Jim McCartney as well as John Lennon and George Harrison are sadly no longer with us. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein died in 1967. The deaths of these key players make the 1965 classic "In My Life" all the more poignant and fitting for this film.
As for Freda, her willingness to come forward now after nearly half a century has enriched and touched many lives. That would certainly include those of viewers and hard core inveterate Beatles' fans as well as the Beatles themselves. Freda is even given a nod on the boys' Christmas albums. Kudos to Rachel Kelly Norris and her son who, as the newer generations encouraged Freda to reconsider coming forward and sharing her experiences during the Swinging Sixties, a time of Ford Falcons and wonderful music.
Ringo Starr, the Beatle whose mother bonded with Freda thanks her during the credits and Paul McCartney, the other living Beatle supported this film. Angie McCartney, Paul's stepmother agreed to do a short interview and Paul's younger brother Michael agreed to supply some early photographs for the film as well.
In just under an hour and a half, you will go on the Magical Mystery Tour of your life and one you will never forget or regret. This is a film I cannot recommend highly enough and it is a must have for all Beatles' fans and for all who are interested in the Beatles. Freda is a vital key player and without her help and input, who knows how history would have played out. Thanks to Freda, we can now give her the kudos she richly deserves.