Unseen 8mm Footage of The Beatles Expected to Sell for $10,000

Beatles on 8mm film

Never before seen footage of The Beatles shot on 8mm film is expected to sell at auction for $10,000.

The silent footage shows the Fab Four clowning around as they were shooting the movie Help! The film is scratched and dirty but the bidding is already over $1,300 with almost a month still left to go.

Boston-based RR Auction is selling the three-minute and 17-second clip offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Paul, John, George, and Ringo.

The footage was shot on Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge, England, and was taken during the I Need You sequence. John Lennon can be seen playing up for the cameras as Paul McCartney breathes into his hands in a bid to keep warm.

Director Richard Lester is seen engaging with the cast and crew while the band plays with their instruments surrounded by fake-armed soldiers from the British Army’s 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. The plot of Help! sees a mysterious cult attempting to kill drummer Ringo Starr so the Royal Artillery is brought in to protect them.

8mm film

8mm film
With director Richard Lester.

The 8mm black-and-white film, filmed on May 3, 1965, was shot by a member of the production crew or a Beatle affiliate. The footage is very rare and came to light after an Irish collector acquired it on eBay, according to the Daily Mail.

“Unseen footage of The Beatles is incredibly rare, making the discovery of such a film a unique moment in popular music history,” says an RR Auction spokesperson.

“It offers some rare and unique moments where all four Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, were captured ‘off-camera’, in their natural, jovial state.

“In this footage, they are not performing for the camera, but engaging with cast and crew, noodling on their instruments, and joking around on set.”

8mm film

8mm film

The Beatles were the first act to use short films to showcase their music; the Help! movie led to music videos of sorts for the songs Help! and Yesterday.

“I realize, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor to the Batman ‘Pow! Wow!’ on TV that kind of stuff,” John Lennon once said of Lester’s movie.

“But [Lester] never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn’t spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period.

“Nobody could communicate with us, it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world. It’s like doing nothing most of the time, but still having to rise at 7 am, so we became bored.”

8mm film

The listing ends on February 23 and can be found here.

Image credits: RR Auctions