Universal Music Group’s Japanese website has posted that “The Beatles Live,” which is the tentative title of what has also been known as “The Beatles Live Movie Project,” the long-awaited documentary of the Beatles on tour directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard, will be out this autumn. The posting, however, gives no specific date. Speculation has been that the film would be out this fall though there had been nothing previously confirming that. The website says the film was made with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, and Olivia Harrison, widow of George Harrison.
The Beatles’ Apple Corps first announced Howard’s involvement in the project in 2014. One Voice One World had previously invited Beatles fans to send in clips of home movies and photos and set up an official website. As originally announced, the film will cover the Beatles’ touring years, including the early days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool and engagements in Hamburg to their last public concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in 1966.
The translated Japanese text, which doesn’t have a whole lot of detail, appears to say the film will start in 1961 and include the Beatles at the Cavern Club, plus the start of a European tour at the end of 1963. The film will also feature their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, and first world tour. The film will continue through the subsequent two years until August, 1966, when the band decided to stop touring. Production of the film has been pretty under wraps the past couple of years though a crew was seen filming at Paul McCartney’s concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 2014.
The Beatles have sparingly released live material through the years. They officially released a vinyl LP combining their Hollywood Bowl shows, but have yet to release it on CD. A live audience recording of the Beatles at the Star-Club in Hamburg was taken off the market after the group put a stop to it. But they have released two double CD sets of songs recorded for BBC Radio. .
Ron Howard is known, of course, for his TV roles as a child actor on “The Andy Griffith Show” and later “Happy Days.” The first full-length film he directed was “Grand Theft Auto” in 1977. He has since directed a long string of films, including “Apollo 13,” “Ransom,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Backdraft,” “Gung Ho,” “Cocoon,” “Splash,” “Night Shift,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code.” He won a Best Director Oscar for “A Beautiful Mind” in 2002, and the film also won an Academy Award for Best Picture that year.