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Strange Fruit - The Beatles' Apple Records [Alemania] [DVD]

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«STRANGE FRUIT - THE BEATLES' APPLE RECORDS» est un passionnant DVD documentaire sur le légendaire label « APPLE » que les BEATLES avait créé à la fin des années 60 à Londres. Inclus : des interviews avec le groupe et son entourage, des producteurs et musiciens, des analyses de critiques rock, des images inédites..


Film indipendente che traccia in modo autorevole e documentato la storia della leggendaria etichetta discografica dei Beatles, la Apple Records. Nel 1968 i Beatles avevano aperto le porte ad un vasto collettivo fatto di musicisti, scrittori, artisti, registi, designers, inventori e creativi di ogni tipo. Tutto questo fervore in realtà non portò a grandissimi frutti dal punto di vista artistico, tranne che per il settore discografico rappresentato appunto dalla Apple Records. Per questa etichetta uscirono dischi che ancora oggi sfidano il passare del tempo, nonostante molti di essi siano stati pubblicati più di 40 anni fa. Il film si avvale di testimonianze d'eccezione: Tony Bramwell, membri dei Badfinger, Iveys, Elephant's Memory, Jackie Lomax, Brute Force e David Peel, l'esperto di storia dei Beatles Chris Ingham, il giornalista musicale Mark Paytress e il biografo ufficiale della Apple Stefan Granados. La narrazione è costellata di rari filmati dal repertorio dei maggiori artisti della scuderia Apple.

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Opiniones de clientes más útiles en (beta) 4.1 de un máximo de 5 estrellas 12 opiniones
36 de 38 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A Legal Nightmare 30 de marzo de 2012
Por - Publicado en
Formato: DVD
Contrary to the other review, I have an original DVD of this amazing 2 hour & 45 minute documentary. It does contain 30 second audio snippets of the actual beatles from the Penny Lane & Hey Jude Promo films. All footage is properly credited, but seems to have been taken directly from "The Beatles Anthology". Rare Apple artist promo films are shown in pristine quality but not complete. The bonus feature interview with "Brute Force" regarding the banned "King Of Fuh" makes the price worth it alone. How this can ever be legally released is impossible and that is why it has been pulled, I had a pre-order and then was notified by amazon it had been cancelled. Luckily while attending a Beatles convention last weekend in 2012, I was able to purchase an original. The Beatles will either buy the rights to bury it or release it themselves as no one will ever do a better justified documentary on Apple & its non-beatles artists than this, I love that the producers through caution to the wind and just practically stole the footage and audio throughout. Even the cover with the pictured album covers has legal problems!
24 de 24 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Comprehensive at 2 hrs 42 min yet not enough! 14 de mayo de 2012
Por Roger Leatherwood Brown - Publicado en
Formato: DVD
Very nice and very in-depth and long discussion of the Apple years, which is beginning to capture historian's imaginations 40 years on. For decades all the Beatles books ended when they broke up in '69. Quite early on Richard DiLello's "The Longest Cocktail Party" was the only available document about the Apple years/scene (1973) that went rather unrecognized. Lately a couple writers have been delving into the solo years (Doggett's fine (if gossipy) "You Never Give Me You Money" (2010) is the first comprehensive bio of the solo years, after FAQ 2.0 outlined the shape of the '70s decade in anecdotes).

This docu has a lot of ground to cover and at 2 hours and 42 minutes takes its time telling various nuances of the story in depth but only appears to have access to a limited number of key people. This is not an authorized or official film so naturally the Beatles do not appear - Tony Bramwell of Apple is the only true "insider" who speaks on camera. A handful of Beatle authorities as well as Jackie Lomax, Joey Molland and Ron Griffiths (Badfinger & Iveys) and Gary von Scyoc (Elephant's Memory) make up the vast majority of the interview time as well as numerous clips, music "videos" and newsreel footage. And at that, therefore, there seems to be inordinate time spent first on Lomax's travails, then Iveys/Badfinger releases and history, and then a bit near the end with Lennon in New York and Elephant's Memory and David Peel.

Don't get me wrong - all of this is great and to have critics (and the players themselves) actually explain what went right - and wrong - with their relationships with Apple, with the Beatles and with the record companies is fascinating stuff and the 2.42 went by for me like a breeze. I actually think the film is too short - if only they had access and footage of for example James Taylor or Mary Hopkins or John Tavener or, imagine it, Yoko Ono or one of those Krishna singers, to explain some of the other aspects of the story, or the outer fringes of the producing arc which is only alluded to in this film.

The DVD is ultimately limited in its ability to get deep into all of the story. It tells the history from 1968 to 1973 well with the critics who know their stuff and can deconstruct what was going on culturally at the time, but the film must ultimately fall back on Lomax (little more that a flash in the pan, with that basso-boiler warble on "Sour Milk Sea," the only song anyone can remember from him), Badfinger (whose ex-members seem more than willing to talk) and endless clips of Mary Hopkins who hit very big very early but doesn't appear in person to talk. And damn it, clips of Elephant's Memory with Lennon on Mike Douglas (available elsewhere) would have been nice to fill out that segment.

The film's extensive use of clips is generally effective, using many period-specific segments of almost all the artists mentioned usually in short 10-second snippets (probably for legal reasons, assuming a "limited and appropriate amount" is acceptable for fair use/ journalistic-reporting). We also see many Apple print ads. We see and hear short segments of the Beatles' "Penny Lane" promo film (about 5 minutes in) and the "Hey Jude" performance on David Frost (about 50 minutes in) as well as various newsreel shots of them, including the shots entering Apple offices famously seen in Anthology. The filmmakers affect a slightly off-putting visual affectation - they or the editors have put on "artificial" film scratches and wear over a lot of the older stills and clips - a visual cue that makes us associate the shots with "archival" or "authentic" but is unnecessary and a little overdone. (A slow zoom-in of a record cover should not have film scratching or wear - it's a static shot and not unique rare footage of the cover of a record, is it?) While there is a wealth of rarely seen footage here (including television and concert appearances of the groups) to obscure it slightly with digital effects is a misguided aesthetic decision.

A word about legal clearance problems with this title: this DVD has apparently been pulled or delayed from some websites (including Amazon) and are only available through secondary sellers because the copyright holders (Apple) feel the music and/or clips have not been cleared. I was able to get this film after the kerfuffle from B&N and it appears intact - reports that some material has been deleted or music replaced are at this time unsubstantiated. All music is original and not dubbed over by "sound-alikes." Note that no Beatles are seen speaking on camera. The clip from the Johnny Carson show in which John and Paul talk to Joe Garagiola about forming Apple would have been ideal and perfect for this film and yet does not appear. This suggests to me the filmmakers were careful to choose what they thought would pass "fair use" muster (basically, news footage and 10-second clips of songs) and did not push past accepted best practices ... although with Apple even a little push may invite the attention of lawyers.

The running time of 162 (2 hours and 42 minutes) seems to be consistent so any rumored variants would possibly not be shorter, only have music replaced? More information and empirical evidence is needed.

That said, although epic in length and obsessive in its attention to certain artists (the ones they were able to locate and interview) I would have welcomed another 3 hours of information - about White Trash, Modern Jazz Quartet, Ringo's involvement, Apple Films (never mentioned), Alex Madras (never mentioned), the office itself and/or Derek Taylor and/or Richard DiLello's take on the scene there, the studio... and on and on and so on.

Enough quibbling. For Beatle and Apple completists this DVD is a must and as I said it was the fastest 3 hours I spent this year watching. Required viewing for those of you who know who you are, and only wanting more is a good thing, right?!
11 de 11 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Strange Fruit 27 de mayo de 2012
Por S Riaz - Publicado en
Formato: DVD
This documentary tells the story of the strange, utopian dream, that was Apple Records. The seeds for Apple go back to 1967 when the Beatles were faced with a huge tax bill and the choice of either to simply pay it, or to invest in a business and be taxed at a lower rate. This led to the idea of forming a company which would be financially advantageous and 'of interest' to them. Unfortunately, 1967 saw the death of Brian Epstein, who had sheltered the Beatles from so much and the band began to lose direction. Neil Aspinall was pulled in as Managing Director of Apple and there were other, familiar faces, but it is interesting to speculate what Apple could have become with Brian in charge.

There are lots of interesting interviews, most notably with Jackie Lomax (formerly of the Undertakers and another old friend from Liverpool), Tony Bramwell, Ron Griffiths of the Iveys/Badfinger and Joel Molland of Badfinger. Jackie Lomax was first approached by Brian Epstein to become a solo singer, leaving the singer devastated when he died. Signed by Apple as a writer, George then suggested he record as a solo artist. Jackie Lomax presents those early days as an artist friendly record company and the beginning days were enthusiastic and encouraging.

Although Peter Asher was A&R man, he needed a Beatle to approve every artist, who seemed to be found from odd places. The Ivey's were signed as a favour to Mel Evans (Beatles roadie) and McCartney found Mary Hopkins through Twiggy, who recommended her after seeing her on Opportunity Knocks. Lots of good acts fell through, as whether an act was signed or not depended largely on the mood of the Beatle in question at the time. It was Peter Asher who brought the most successful artist, James Taylor, who recently mentioned his debt to Paul at the Musicares 2012 evening.

Apple had a great mixture of artists - some more successful than others, some very interesting but not commercially viable. The Iveys (who became Badfinger), Mary Hopkins, the Black Dyke Mills Band, the Radha Krishna Temple, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Doris Troy, etc produced a huge variety of music. Many artists complained about a lack of promotion and live appearances. Even when Harrison organised the Concert for Bangladesh, he asked Badfinger to back him, but did not give them a set of their own. This was a missed chance to promote their own songs and give them exposure in the US. Jackie Lomax also makes the point that Apple producing several records at once (ie releasing their first four singles on the same day) led to a lack of airplay for records, as radio stations had to choose which records to promote.

When John Lennon made the comment that if things went on the way there were going, the Beatles would be broke, Klein became involved. The documentary covers that period, including the infamous 26 sackings in one day. It also makes the point that while Lennon was quick to criticise the amount of money being lost, he spent a huge amount of money on his peace campaign and in promoting Yoko Ono's records, despite no profit being forthcoming. When McCartney lost interest in Apple, Harrison stepped in to take over Badfinger, but the rot was in and Apple was falling apart. The Beatles let any artist who wished to leave go with no strings attached, but the ultimate failing was with the individual members of the band themselves. Their personal involvement could be fantastically commercial - as with McCartney's role in the early career of Mary Hopkins - but often they lost interest or were doing other things; as with Harrison abandoning Badfingers album to organise the Concert for Bangladesh.

If this interests you, you might enjoy the CD Come And Get It: The Best Of Apple Records or the books Those Were the Days: An Unofficial History Of The Beatles' Apple Organization: An Unofficial History of the "Beatles" Apple Organization 1967-2001 and The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider's Diary of the Beatles, Their Million-dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall. This is a very interesting DVD and well worth watching for anyone interested in a part of the Beatles career which is often neglected.
4 de 4 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Beatle freaks - buy this VERY quickly! 25 de junio de 2012
Por T. Casey - Publicado en
Formato: DVD Compra verificada
This documentary is as comprehensive as "The Beatles Anthology". It contains much more info than you've ever heard before about Apple Records, including long interviews with Jackie Lomax, who is fantastic (and who needs to be contacted by Hollywood IMMEDIATELY to star in an offbeat western - he is very, very funny and charismatic). It also contains film clips of dubious legal sources (for example, Charles Laughton's only directorial effort illustrates "Lord of the Reedy River" quite well).

I'd gotten through the first hour enraptured, but I had to stop in order to fulfill other obligations. Before I stopped, I skipped to the end, and it does indeed cover the entire history of the label.

The picture and audio quality is excellent. It contains no current interview footage of James Taylor or Mary Hopkins (pity), but that is understandable from Taylor's management's view and Hopkins' personal experience. Perhaps someday this documentary will include their inputs before we're all dust.

Buy it NOW, before some lawyer buries it forever. This is the bonus disc that is desperately needed in the Beatles Anthology.
6 de 7 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Strange Fruit - The Beatles' Apple Records 20 de abril de 2012
Por Carlos E. Velasquez - Publicado en
Formato: DVD
I am sure that you, at one time or another, have heard, "I grew with the music of the Beatles" or "I am from the Beatles generation" or something along those lines. Well, I am one of those and, after so many years since the Beatles conquered the planet, it is amazing to me that they still have so much significance. I have been a witness to that, and this band will surely be loved and remembered a long time after I am gone. But, other than their music, the Beatles tried to do something good for their fellow man, in this case struggling musicians that needed a break, a chance. It was then that they created Apple Records, and the wonderful "Strange Fruit - The Beatles' Apple Records" provides us with an honest view and great, historic information about the history of the label and its artists.

The film is quite long, and it is loaded with history and music. It begins at the beginning, when the Beatles were at the top of their game. However, when you are famous, the government wants your money, and high taxation in England was really affecting their finances. Following good advice, they created a label - Apple Records - in which the investment would lower their taxes. But, if this was the main reason for creating Apple, the indirect result would be the creation of a music label that would "give power back to the artists." In other words, Apple would be an artist friendly enterprise, contrary to the mayor labels at the time, which stole money from the talent with indecent practices. We are also told that the major force to create the label was Paul McCartney, and that their first office was located at Baker Street, in the City of Westminster, in 1968.

"Strange Fruit - The Beatles' Apple Records" then moves to how the label began working on projects, beginning with the production of the film "The Magical Mystery Tour." They then signed singer-writer Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, The Iveys, James Taylor and others. They also made the Beatles White album. By 1969, the Beatles -- pushed by John Lennon -- hired Allen Klein, who promised them that he would clean up their finances. That year they signed Billy Preston, The Iveys became Bad Finger, and the Beatles began disintegrating as a group. From then on, the filmmakers examine year by year everything that happened to the label, ending in May 6, 1975, when Apple announced that it would cease operations. Along the way, we will learn about other groups that were signed by Apple, such as, for example, Ravi Shankar, Yoko Ono, John Tavener, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Brute Force. Of course, we will hear some of their music along the way.

The movie has interviews with some of the players, such a Jackie Lomax (who said that Apple Records was `utopia'), Ron Griffiths (from the Iveys), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and others. There are also interviews with historians, like Stefan Granados, Chris Ingham, Mark Paytrees, and more. In the end, we are told that Apple was a "curious disappointment in the history of rock music. A revolutionary label that never reached its potential." And the big lesson, perhaps, is that "artists can not take care of other artists." You will be the judge.

"Strange Fruit - The Beatles' Apple Records" is a great document of our times. With no apparent help from or sanctioned by the Beatles, the documentary tells the history of this controversial - for lack of a better word - music label. I believe that some good stuff came from it, but time will tell, as their records are slowly being released as CDs. This DVD is a must for any Beatle and music fan in general. (UK, 2011, color and B&W, 162 min)

Reviewed on April 4, 2012 by Eric Gonzales for Sexy Intellectual | Chrome Dreams

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