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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2008
Despite the frivolous, not to say silly, plot, "Help!" is just plain fun; and, if one gets past the frantic antics, it is full of delightful puns and allusions (Some are very Goon Show.). The adorable four are supported by an A-1 cast, including Leo McKern, who puts as much zest into his role as the evil Clang as he does into that of Rumpole. Victor Spinetti (who was also in "A Hard Day's Night"), chews the scenery as the mad scientist, Foot, and he is ably assisted by Roy Kinnear as the dippy Algernon. Eleanor Bron is outstanding as the mysterious Ahme, who, decked out in an outrageous peacock blue turban and plumes, informs the lads that there is more to her than meets the eye. Each one of us probably has his favorite scene; mine is one in which Ringo is told not to worry about the Bengal tiger which is sharing the cellar with him; all he has to do to calm the beast is sing the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; and then all the Beatles and everyone else in the pub above the cellar belt it out in German! Goofy, but so what? It's fun! And besides, the Beatles sing a rollicking rendition of "Hey! You've got to Hide Your Love Away."

The second disk with the commentary is particularly enlightening. Not only are there the very interesting comments of the director, Richard Lester, but there is also a fascinating explanation by the technicians on the intricacies of restoring the film. Wendy Richard, who plays my favorite character, Miss Brahms, in "Are You Being Served?", talks about the thrill of playing her very first role in "Help!," only to discover at the last minute that the scene had been cut (They show bits and pieces of it, but unfortunately, the scene itself seems to be lost).

"Help!" is a film to watch on a summer night when you just want to sit back, relax, and have a good laugh.
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on 27 February 2006
For some reason this album has quite often attracted less than flattering reviews complaining that The Beatles were tired and such like. Yeah right. I wouldn’t mind being tired if it meant I could churn out tracks like ’Ticket To Ride’, ’Yesterday’, ’I’ve Just Seen A Face’ and ’You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.’ Perhaps it was because from their next album ’Rubber Soul’, released just a few months after this one in 1965, the music The Beatles produced was taken to such heights that it was virtually beyond criticism. So this was the poor relation after the exuberance of ’A Hard Day’s Night’ and before the psychadelia of the mid 60s output? Well that would be a pretty ridiculous conclusion. This album’s songwriting was for the most part far superior to that on ’Beatles For Sale’ from the previous year and only marginally less consistent than ’Rubber Soul’.
When discussing a weaker link amongst Beatles albums, one does not think of Anne Robinson. And this album was way above what most bands were producing at the time and still sounds remarkably fresh and vibrant 40 years later. If you can I would avoid purchasing Beatles compilations. Their original albums are so much more rewarding. They each give a snapshot of where they were at the time. But blink and you’ve missed a few beats as the next album was always different. Other artists have successfully reinvented themselves it is true. David Bowie, Dylan, even The Stones on occasions. The Beatles did it with practically every album.
Other tracks worthy of note here are ’The Night Before’ from Paul, a fast catchy number with great backing vocals. ’I Need You’ is a simple but effective and quite charming Harrisong (check out Tom Petty’s version on Concert For George). ’You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’ is one of those lost Lennon classics that one finds on most Beatles albums. Among the covers, ’Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ is delivered with gusto and ’Act Naturally’ is a suitable vehicle for Ringo’s country vocal (he was to do a whole album of country songs in 1970 after the split entitled ’Beaucoups Of Blues’, to great effect).
A couple of the other songs are a little ordinary but only by this band’s Everest High standards. The title track was a genuine cry for help from Lennon (or so he said later) but is actually one of their less engaging singles. Not that it’s bad or anything. On the whole this album finds The Beatles at or very near their peak. I rediscovered it recently and it was great. It is the kind of album that you forget how good it is. And surely ’Ticket To Ride’ is their most majestic single for their early-mid period.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2006
A lot of bleating goes on about the Beatles' work from Rubber Soul onwards. Their studio experimentation, massive success, refusal to conform to the boundaries of pop music and simply brilliant songwriting from the second half of 1965 onwards cannot be downplayed (outside of Magic Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine). However, there is often a reluctance to accept the pre-Rubber Soul Beatles as being anything better than a very good pop band.

I beg to differ. I think that the Help album, while in posession of a duff track or two, is a simply magnificent, life-affirming 35 minutes of wonderfully written pop. Pop, yes, but - at the risk of becoming Bones McCoy - not as we know it. This is the catchiest, most well written pop with a great attention to detail.

One thing that has to be pointed out is that the 'classic' standout songs from this album - 'Yesterday' the most covered song ever, 'Help!', the most confessional of John's earlier songs - as good as they are, are not necessarily any better than the lesser known moments here. Both of George Harrison's contributions, while ignored by the man himself in his book I Me Mine, are great. Paul McCartney's 'Another Girl' sets a slightly vicious lyric to a quirky tune, preluding his dumping of Jane Asher for Linda Eastman by three years. 'Dizzy Miss Lizzie,' while being a shameless attempt to emulate their early cover of 'Twist And Shout', is underrated. While the guitar riff is somewhat meek, the constant crashing cymbal and Lennon's throat-shredding vocal make it a wonderful closer.

The only slack moment is Ringo's vocal turn on 'Act Naturally,' a cover of an artist the name of which escapes me, but even that is perfectly listenable when in the right mood.

This is a perfectly tuned album of pop genius. Avoiding this based on the later quality would be a big mistake.
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on 14 November 2007
Watched both discs in one sitting last night.

Disc 1 is the film and beyond options for subtitles in various languages there are non extras. It's a sparklng restoration and the sound is perfect. When they're indoors in their terraced house pad for the first time you see that their suits have a light pin stripe. George is reveled as sometimes looking tired a bit spotty.

But the extras disc is vexing. The missing scene is not that - it's folks talking about the missing scene with a few stills. But when you look at the three trailers included, two include another missing scene of the band drivng cars on an beach. The extra docs include some shots with clapperboards that clearly demonstrate that more footage survives - where is this footage? And the two docs about the film (not the one on the restroation) rely on a boring static talking head approach that doesn't make for gripping viewing - although seeing Neil Aspinall without a hat for the first time is quite something. Richard Lester is genial, but most of the folks who talk don't offer anything new. For example, it's said that Epstein wanted filming to take place in the Bahamas - but it is not said why. Couldn't a little extra effort have been put into these extras? It is The Beatles after all.
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on 28 November 2014
finally got round to reviewing this great album, the film is totally NUTS and a much more superior than their first film A HARD DAY"S NIGHT but this is for the album so i better get on with it,
so what do we have here then, fun, catch toe tapping sing-a-long songs ....well er not really,it is so much better than that.
this is an album that has truly a masterpiece in it"s own right , the vocals are so strong and clear as a bell that you don"t have to put the album on repeat to listen to the lyrics, the sound is superb with no nasty feedback ( this is the 2012 remaster vinyl) and a joy to listen to , all four Beatles have great songs for their fans ( yes even Ringo !!! ...with act naturally).
from the title song to dizzy miss Lizzy, there is not a bad track on the album , i really love George"s I NEED YOU , always have,
only two tracks that were not written by any of the boys ( act naturally and Dizzy Miss Lizzy) great song especially the latter which is a true rock"n roll classic brilliantly sung by John but the whole album is fantastic, so buy this album on vinyl or C.D. and sit back and enjoy the fun, and go back in time to 1965 and relive the Beatles magic...FANTASTIC
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VINE VOICEon 3 February 2015
Help! is often unfairly maligned as being one of The Beatles "not all that great" albums along with "...For Sale". Having just bought the Blu Ray of the movie I thought I'd give Help! the album another listen, the first time since buying it remastered. Reset the reputation...
My memories of the LP are coloured by my first Beatles experiences when I was a young teen, lapping up the movies on their first showing on TV in the mid 70's... and then influenced by the naysayers. All I can say is the naysayers were wrong, Help! is an excellent album and this remaster is exquisite. For me the lesser known tracks are the album's highlights, with The Night Before sounding as vibrant and exciting now as it did all those years ago. You're Going To Lose That Girl and I've Just Seen A Face are classics and then there is Yesterday. Overplay and familiarity had dulled it's beauty in my memory but this remaster brings back the lustre for me....And what a genius bit of programming to end the LP on Dizzy Miss Lizzy!
The last of the "early" Beatles really is rather good.
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Same formula, but some subtle changes with seven songs appearing in the film Help. Primarily still songs about girls and relationships. Lennon's interest in the American folk scene is beginning to show through again. To me there is a slightly ramshackle feel about Help - the songs aren't quite as fresh as on some of the earlier albums. It all starts on a highpoint with one of the band's best compositions in the title track.

It must be remembered that this was the Beatles' fifth album in three years and although they are by and large very short in length it is still an impressive output. I can't help wondering, however, whether the songs are becoming a little jaded. Of course that comment seems like so much bunkem when you realise Paul McCartney's classic Yesterday is included. In many ways. But standing alongside that Ringo's attempts to sing the novelty country song "Act Naturally" which is pretty average to say the least. There are a number of almost curio tracks like McCartney's "I've Just Seen a Face" with its huge nod to Simon and Garfunkel. Help was the last of a quintet of similar sounding and similar feel albums before the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership really began to blossom with the release of Rubber Soul
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on 26 October 2007
Info relates to The Beatles - Help! ASIN: B000VR4AB2 and ' Not ' The Beatles - Help! Limited Edition ' ASIN: B000VJ4OUM

Now forget what the product details claim is correct
The Aspect Ratio: is not 1.33:1 it has a Aspect Ratio of 16:9

and it has the following special features

A Missing Scene - Featuring Wendy Richard
The Restoration of Help! - An in depth look at the restoration process.
Memories of Help! - The cast and crew reminisce
Theatrical Trailers - 2 US trailers and 1 Spanish trailer.
1965 US Radio Spots - Hidden in disc menus.
The Beatles in Help! - 30 minute documentary about the making of the film with director Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind the scenes footage of The Beatles on set.

Now I have to admit that I was very tempted to buy the 'Limited Edition ' ASIN: B000VJ4OUM only because I wanted a Widescreen version but as the bog standard two disk edition is in Widescreen I reckon I will save myself £ 23.78 by buying the cheaper version.

Yes I know that some people will be tempted to buy the Limited Edition and I wish I had enough spare cash to do so but I don't .

This is bound to be a best seller - why did it take so long to come out ?
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on 11 May 2012
This is very much a film of its time. It is enjoyable and 'silly' rather than laugh-out-loud, a bit cringe-making in places but you have to remember the year. You have to watch it a few times to get all the gags. One of my favourite bits is where they go to Scotland Yard and Patrick Cargill says "So this is the famous Beatles. How long do you think you'll last?". To which John replies "Great Train Robbery - how's that one going then?".

The boys are good (well they were playing themselves) although John does not seem to make much impression. It is fun watching the sceene where they are fighting the baddies in their house and John & George are obviously laughing. And the sceene when Paul is shrunk and naked. Considering that this was 1965 and a film whos audience was mainly teenage girls, the sight of Paul with no clothes on must have been virtually pornagraphic!

Perhaps it would have been good to have more songs but the film is a nice reminder of simpler times and it is always a treat to watch the boys in their prime and be reminded of their brilliance.
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on 5 August 2013
HELP! has a special place in my heart - I was young when it came out and the zany, comic book like plot appealed to me as much as the music - and the Beatles have never been as good on film as they were here, supported by an excellent cast (Oh, Elanor Bron!). I was never as enthralled by the monochrome "Hard Days Night" and "Magical Mystery Tour" sent me to sleep in the first reel - on DVD and even when they premiered it of TV..... first B/W and then in colour. But I digress. If you like "The Avengers" (Steed & Peel, not those American upstarts) you will ADORE this movie.
As an aside, this film is an exact contemporary of the Dave Clark Five's "Catch Us If You Can" - indeed they ran similtaneously on differing cinema circuits back in 1965. Take a look at that fantasy as well while you are about it. They don't make them like these any more.
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