Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Behind the scenes of "Eight Arms to Hold you"

Behind the scenes of “Eight Arms to Hold you”

Why were the high priests of the terrible goddess of Kaili interested in the Beatles?
Why was Ringo pursued to the ends of the earth by a gang of Eastern thugs?
What did they want of him, they weren’t fans?
Two leading scientists hoped to rule the world.
Paul was threatened by a beetle.
An Eastern beauty saves the boys’ lives time and time again.
A channel swimmer ends up in an Alpine lake and Buckingham Palace has a busy day.
When Scotland Yard arrives in the Bahamas after unsuccessful maneuvers on Salisbury Plain, they find four Ringos but only one George, one Paul and one John.
When the power crazy scientists arrive in the Alps, the boys miraculously escape their deadly weapons.
Will John live to sleep in his pit again?
Will Paul ever get back to his electric organ?
Will George be reunited with his ticker tape machine?
And Ringo, will he ever play the drums again?

That’s an official synopsis of “Eight Arms to Hold you,” the Beatles newest screen gem.   The actual plot of the movie is still as under wraps as Mark Jaggar’s forehead, but there’s no lack of behind the scenes information.

“The script itself is zany, almost to the point of surrealism, and certainly very, very different,” says Brian Epstein.  “I think the Beatles will do even better as film entertainers than as live entertainers.  And they’ll make many more films.  I think they will explode again in their next picture.  Then they must eventually fit into pictures not just as Beatles but as actors.”

George Harrison, interviewed on the set said, “We’re loving it.  It’s a year since we made our first movie and now we’re getting a liking for it.  Each scene is short and in between each take we sit in an air-conditioned car and learn the words for the next scene.”

Producer Walter Shenson and director Richard Lester are the team responsible for the enormously successful first Beatles film, “a Hard Day’s Night,” also for UA, and winner of two Academy Award nominations.   Appearing in the new movie with the Beatles are Eleanor Bron, Leo McKern and Victor Spinetti.  This is the first Beatles film in color.  The picture introduces a number of songs written by Lennon and McCartney, including “Ticket to Ride” and “Yes it Is.”

In Nassau, where filming began February 22, the Beatles swam in a swimming pool while full clothed (something John had always wanted to do), rode in circles on bicycles and sat atop piles of sea shells as the cameras rolled.

They lived in a bungalow beside the sea, George was awakened early one morning by the sound of three familiar voices singing “Happy Birthday to you” (he was 22), and when they left the island, Ringo carried a large, gold paper-wrapped, secret present for his wife.

For the two weeks filming of location sequences of the new Beatles movie in Obertauern, Austria, every room in the little ski resort had been booked solid.  When the news came that the Beatles would be shooting, hundreds of press men from all over Europe besieged the village and by the time the film untit of seventy-five arrived it was bursting at the seams.

At night when the bars and cafes closed down there was a rush for improvised beds on sofas, tables, pianos and even billiard tables.

No one wanted t be an extra on “Eight Arms to Hold You.”

On the last picture, “A Hard Day’s night,” fans stormed producer Walter Shenson’s office begging for the privilege even without pay, but there was no rush for the job in the picturesque Austrian ski report. 

The mayor of the town explained that 1500 people in Obertauern were visitors, vacationing there strictly for the wonderful skiing that the town provides.  The rest of the population, numbering 150, was hard at work looking after the visitors in the hotels. 

Finally some visiting newspapermen and women were pressed into service and the situation was saved.  The end of the story is that one of the newspaper women who played an extra delightedly wired back the story of her day’s work to her newspaper and the next day Walter Shenson was besieged with offers from fans all over Austria for the jobs.

Just before the Beatles’ arrival in Obertauern, Austria an avalanche swept a bus load of vacationers into a ravine killing half of them.  During shooting, the hot spring sun caused two more avalanches within full view of the film unit.  John, Paul, George and Ringo once had their own personal avalanche when they walked down the steps of their hotel.  A two foot deep slab of packed snow slipped gently off the roof of the hotel and landed right at their feet. 

The most envied girl in Beatledom 1964 was Betty Glasow, the girl that the Beatles liked to have around.  Her hands had run through the hair of them all and in 1965 she did it again.   Betty Glasow is the hairdresser who coiffed the world famous locked throughout the filming of “A Hard Day’s Night.”

By special request of producer Walter Shenson, Betty returned to trim and shampoo Paul, Ringo, George and John for their second movie.  She went with them on location in the Bahamas and at the ski resorts of Austria and returned with them to London’s Twickenham Studios for the final scenes.
Betty could have made a fortune on the last picture if she’d agreed to save the hair clippings that dropped to the floor but she is a girl interested only in being a good hairdresser and a good friend of the Beatles.  After all, hairdresser Maureen Cox was once a friend of the Beatles before she became Mrs. Richard Starkey.

It was Ringo who dreamed up the title for both Beatles films.  He stole the show in “A Hard Day’s Night” and early reports say he does likewise in “Eight Arms to hold you.”   Said producer Walter Shenson in Austria, “Ringo’s the surprising man of the Beatles – quiet for days, then suddenly he’ll come up with something, like the title, that takes everybody off guard and proves he’s as sharp as the rest.”  There’s no doubt that all the Beatles are sharp.

When asked how they would like to be remembered when retirement comes, Paul said, “With a smile.”  John said, “I’ll be in a mental home, and I’d like to be remembered as the one with the twinkle in his eye.”  George said, “I don’t care.”  Ringo said, “I’d like to be remembered as Mrs. Starkey’s little boy.”


  1. any two of those arms would have been more than alright with me