Paul McCartney Apologized for a Hated Beatles Project, but He Still Thinks It’s ‘Cool’

Paul McCartney apologized for a hated Beatles movie. While he understood people didn’t like it, he still is a fan of the project.

After the success of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, The Beatles released a film so widely despised that Paul McCartney apologized for it. Neither critics nor audiences liked it, making it The Beatles’ first real flop. Looking back, though, McCartney didn’t need to apologize. He liked the film and thought it had at least one significant positive to it.

Paul McCartney doesn’t think a Beatles project deserved the hate it got

On Boxing Day, 1967, The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour, their third film. The film was a visual feast but premiered in black and white. This didn’t help the ratings, but audiences took bigger issue with the lack of narrative. Critics ripped the film in reviews, and audiences hated it so much that broadcasters in the United States opted not to air it.

Not long after, McCartney gave both an apology and a defense of the film in an interview. Upon reflection, though, he didn’t think this was necessary.

“We were giving it to the young kids. We figured there would be young kids looking on Boxing Day. Why shouldn’t they see something far out?” he said, per the book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles. “I understand that Steven Spielberg and some of the guys in film school thought it was really cool and it was quite influential on their early stuff. Probably just the fact that it was so free. You get people like that appreciating and analysing it. Just the fact that we had the balls to go out there and had the sheer determination and perseverance to go and make it, I think validates it all now.”

The film was primarily McCartney’s project, so he had to bear the brunt of the criticism. He’s glad this means he can accept any positive feedback about it.

“I put a lot of work into the film but it was credited as directed by the Beatles,” he explained. “In actual fact, like it, love it or hate it, it was me that directed it so I really had to carry the can when it got bad reviews, but by the same argument, I can now take the credit for the cool little film.”

Paul McCartney shared 1 of the best parts of the Beatles film

McCartney believed that even the film’s biggest detractors have to admit that it had one positive characteristic. The soundtrack was good, and it was the only time John Lennon ever performed “I Am the Walrus” on film.

“If we did have to justify it, I think ‘I Am the Walrus‘ alone makes it,” McCartney said. “It’s the only time John ever sang ‘I Am the Walrus’ on film, so right there it’s historical. There’s quite a few good little musical scenes: ‘Blue Jay Way,’ ‘”Fool on the Hill,’ ‘Your Mother Should Know.’ This is a good start, isn’t it?”

John Lennon liked ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ as well

Lennon also liked the film. He admitted it had some problems but didn’t think they were the band’s fault.

“I don’t regret Magical Mystery, I think it was great, I think it’ll prove that in the end. I just think that it was a good piece of work and we were f***ed up by cameramen, but that’s not important because you probably think it was more f***ed up than I do, because you like professionalism, y’know. But I enjoyed the fish-and-chip quality of Magical Mystery. The fact that we went out with a load of freaks and tried to make a film is great, you know?”

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