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The Hours And Times  [DVD]
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Although a fictionalized account of an actual trip John Lennon and the Beatle's manager Brian Epstein took to Barcelona in 1963, The Hours & Times is a hugely resonant piece of independent cinema that perfectly captures the calm before the storm of Beatle-mania.
Lennon and Epstein were in Spain to relax after a grueling series of concerts and the film charts the acknowledged intensity of their friendship: one that was soon to be diminished by the onslaught of Lennon's worldwide fame. With its black and white cinematography starkly evoking the early 1960's, The Hours & Times was nominated for Best Director (Christopher Munch) and for the Grand Jury Prize at The Sundance Film Festival; whilst Ian Hart's performance as Lennon was so acclaimed that he was later asked to reprise the role in the movie Backbeat.
Making its UK debut on DVD The Hours & Times is a compelling and controversial look at a man who remains an enigma, and an artist who remains an icon.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ian Hart plays Lennon, whom you might recognise as the private detective from The End of the Affair (1999) or as Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001). Having been born in Liverpool and grown up there, Hart has a strong accent for the role (almost too strong: The Beatles famously exaggerated their Liverpudlian accents, especially when attempting to conquer the States). However, he is two inches shorter than Lennon was, which hampers his credibility in the role a bit. It's also possible that he plays Lennon too youthfully, although that might be more a fault of the script (Lennon comes across as less ambitious and more of a wanderer than he seemed to be aged 22/23 on the cusp of Beatlemania). Brian Epstein is portrayed very well.Read more ›
The Hours & The Times may be only an hour long, but I think it's the best Beatles-related film that isn't a docu so far & it's as fictional as 1995's revisionist self-history Anthology. Proof that low budget cinema can also be great, and that it is possible to make a decent Beatles film (rather than risible TV movies like The Linda McCartney Story, the Lennon one with Barry from Brookside, the patchy Backbeat etc). Not unrelated to what Oliver Stone did with The Doors, in a way; warning!- pious Beatles/Lennon fans who have him down as the messiah might be offended by this film. He was just a bloke though...
I'm surprised someone thought that this film was lacking in atmosphere, as it's got an abundance of the stuff in its short running time.
This is, mercifully, a warts 'n' all depiction of Lennon/The Beatles and, like the most successful post-'Let It Be' record released under the group's name ('Live at the BBC'), this approach is much, much more preferable to the airbrushed one we are too often given ('Anthology', 'Let It Be.....Naked', 'Love' and, though not terrible films, 'Backbeat' and 'Nowhere Boy').
The reason 'Hours and Times' works is that apart from knowing they went to Spain together, and that their personal and working relationship apparently didn't suffer as a consequence, this is actually ALL WE DO KNOW. Future film-makers should bear this in mind when tackling The Beatles as a subject.
As for the film itself, it is clear that the harder role to get right is the deeply complex Epstein and not Lennon, who isn't half as complex as many would have you believe. I don't mean that as a criticism of Lennon, I much prefer the hard edged Rocker of the 50s/early 60s to the boring, saintly 'Imagine' image he is often given.
The stand out scene by a huge margin is the fabulous 'dance' scene with the air-stewardess.
This three or four minutes could have been a film all of its own, and it's almost a tragedy when the picture fades and the film returns to the Lennon/Epstein axis.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So slow .
Spanish: MUCHAS INCONGRUENCIAS.
There is not so much about BARCELONA. The town.
I do not like it.
A very sensitive and thoughtful portrayal of these two men. Ian Hart is a superb young Lennon,arragant yet sensitive,just like the man himself. Brilliantly acted.Published on 5 Aug. 2011 by James Norfolk