BAND ON THE RUN
Paul McCartney's 1973 multi million selling album, “Band on the Run”, was re-released in November 2010 in various CD and DVD formats. The DVD features re-mastered tracks and bonus audio & video content. Amongst this video content is my college graduation movie made in 1974/5 a homage to the Beatles, called “Band on the run” after the song and set to the track. The movie is listed in the DVD as the official original video for the song and is also used with other video footage to promote the DVD album re-release.
I made the film while I was student at Hornsey College of Art. It was intended as a short graphic history of the Beatles. I chose this particular Paul McCartney track for the film as I liked the beginning instrumental section and originally I was only going to use the first section, but I was persuaded by my tutor to create a film to accompany the complete track. As there were no music videos at this time (MTV did not appear until 1981) this was a revolutionary idea and I went along with it.
I was influenced by Richard Lester’s Hard Day’s Night and to a lesser extent Help. I liked the animated film Yellow Submarine, which came out in 1968. I was also very interested in Terry Gilliam’s animated sequences for the British TV show Monty Python. I had seen in some of these films and wanted to understand how they were made and tried to make something of my own.
As well as being an homage to the Beatles, my film was a chance for me to experiment with film techniques and effects such as set making, back projection and in camera superimpositions. I shot the film using a wind up Bolex camera with a cable release button that I had to click in order to expose a frame of film. I had to click it 24 times to create a second of film. Sometimes I used the camera attached to an animation rostrum on to which I placed stills and sometimes I used it as a conventional movie camera shooting live action shots. I wanted to use images of the Beatles that I could cut up and manipulate. I was helped by David Cheshire, former ex Art and Design librarian at Hornsey College of Art, who had a huge collection of pop culture magazines, which he allowed me to copy.
Everything in the film was hand made by me and it took two years to complete. It was my first film—a music video made before there were music videos— and I entered it into the Movie Maker Young Filmmakers competition, where it won a Gold Star Award and was screened at their gala in 1978.