Richard Lester Alfred R. Sugg - Essay

Alfred R. Sugg

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] fact that no one has taken Mr. Lester to task for creating a fiction-nonfiction … indicates that the film—unlike literature—is a basically ambivalent art.

Once the fiction-nonfiction phrase has been uttered with respect to the Beatles films, however, we must admit that that is precisely their peculiar strength, illustrated perhaps best by the brilliant opening shots of Help! where we see the Beatles (in black and white) documentarily photographed exactly like the Tommy Dorsey orchestra used to be photographed in order to drive the customers out to buy popcorn. No sooner have we adjusted to this thing—image relation with the world, however, than the "screen" is suddenly struck by...

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