Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eight arms to Hold You-- a book review

It seems like the powers that be overlooked the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' 2nd film, Help!.   However, the fans of the Beatles did not forget about the hilarious movie's anniversary and several books have been published this year to celebrate the special event. 

The best book  on the movie is by far Eight Arms to hold you by Simon Wells and Paul Skellett.  This is a gorgeous photo book that goes in dept into the Beatles colored film.

This past Monday I wasn't feeling my  best and I stayed home sick from work.    When I began to feel a bit better, I decided to take it easy and enjoy the Beatles' Help!    While Help! has been a top favorite movie of mine, it has been a long time since I watched the entire movie and I have to say that I truly enjoyed it.   I loved how Ringo delivered his lines and I think the one liners said by just about everyone in the cast are so clever.   The plot is goofy, but is just a fun film.    After I watched the movie, I decided to read Eight Arms to Hold You.   It was pretty interesting look at the book directly after watching the finished movie. 

The book is layed out in chronological order by the order in which it was filmed and not in the order of the movie.   I found this to be extremely interesting, because it really showed what the Beatles went through from February-May of 1965 starting in the Bahamas.     This is primarily a Beatles photo book and it is full of amazing and rare Beatles photos from the making of Help!    The book was able to use photos from the archives of renowned Beatles collectors which included the Michael Peto Collection, Mark Hayward, Vincent Vigil, Mark Naboshek and Robert Kern.  The authors cleaned up the 50 year old photos and documents and make them look fresh and vibrant.   I was seriously amazed by how bright colored prints were.   Some of the photos almost looked modern because the colors were so good.  

The text in the book is very humorous and fun to read.   I do wish that this book had more stories from insiders in the book.    Stories from people who were extras or fans that were hanging around to see the Beatles, would have really made this book special.  However, it does explain some of the scenes that didn't make the movie, such as when an alligator was going to get the ring off Ringo's finger.   For years I have wondered what that photos with the alligator was all about!

While the book isn't heavy on text, the photos alone really do tell the story of the Beatles making Help!.    I enjoyed the behind the scenes photographs and I especially liked learning why the movie stills always seemed to have strange colors associated with them.  

I got the special edition "fan" version of the book, but a regular edition will be available in January.   This book would especially make a great gift for anyone who loves the middle years of the Beatles' career.    It might come a month late for Christmas, but I think it would be worth the wait!

Note:   the photos I included in this post aren't from the book---just photos I had from the movie that I wanted to include with the post because a post without pictures is like a day without sunshine.


  1. The photo of the lads dressed as bandsmen is very Sgt Pepper, John is even holding a brass instrument !!

  2. And the George Pic is also in the other Book from the Italian Photographer