45 years ago today, March 22, 1963, the Beatles released their first album Please Please Me. This mono version was rush-released to the public in the UK to capitalize on the success of the hit single of the same name which had reached #2 on the charts. The album contained six cover songs, but more importantly it contained eight songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. A stereo version of this album was later released in 1963 on April 26th.
In the U.S., most of the songs from Please Please Me were first released in 1964 on the Vee-Jay Records label on the renamed album Introducing The Beatles. And in 1965 a similar collection was issued once again on Capitol Records as The Early Beatles. The unexpurgated Please Please Me was not released in the U.S. until the Beatles catalog was released on CD in 1987.
Other than the singles and the flip sides of "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do" (the Beatles' first single which had charted and reached #17 in the UK), all the other tracks were recorded in a marathon session on Monday, February 11th, 1963, at Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles, with George Martin producing, essentially recorded their live act in 9 hours and 45 minutes. The entire day's session cost around £400. And besides John, Paul, George Harrison and Ringo Starr playing their respective instruments, George Martin also played a little piano. The earlier tracks recorded the previous September and November had session player Andy White on drums, who has also recorded with the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Herman's Hermits, and Tom Jones.
This movie is yet another suitably quirky Anderson film. I'm all for directors who put their stamp on their pictures, especially when it's to the degree where you can tell who made it just by looking at a brief clip. I'm also all for characters that are idiosyncratic and different. What I'm trying to say is, I really do like Wes Anderson, perhaps mostly because he doesn't make Julia Roberts movies. Ever. He has his own voice, and I applaud that.
That said, this movie was all style, no substance, which is what his movies sometimes can be, at their worst.
The Darjeeling Limited is built around a wonderful, interesting concept: Three adult American brothers unite in India to reconnect. The brothers are, of course, suitably quirky to the nth degree. They are played by Owen Wilson (Francis), Adrian Brody (Peter) and Jason Schwartzman (Jack). These oddball brothers are wealthy enough to stay endlessly at gorgeous Parisian hotels, tear up their return tickets from India and carry an Ipod with a speaker dock all through their Indian trip by train/bus/bike/etc, but they are duly pained by their father's death and their mother's negligence. It was difficult for me to invest myself in their story-- they come off as exceedingly self absorbed, and while that may have worked for Margot Tenenbaum (in Anderson's highly enjoyable The Royal Tenenbaums), she was not filmed interacting with locals throughout third world India-- rather, she appeared in her natural environment of upper class New York City. The characters here seemed to have permanently down turned, achingly sad eyes, overly glorified by many closeups and slow pans. Oh, the pain of great wealth and great luggage!
However, this is what we really saw:
This is how many people were in the theater with us
(it's dark but there isn't anyone else there):
It was amazing. See pics below for further proof.