The Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take you away on October 9 when The Beatles’ 1967 feature film arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in a completely restored new edition! Initially aired on BBC1 television in December, 1967, The Beatles starred in the film opposite a motley crew of performers including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Both the DVD and Blu-ray will sport a fully remixed soundtrack (5.1 and stereo) as well as special features such as three new edits of song performances, commentary from Paul McCartney, and scenes that were cut out of the original film including footage with the band Traffic. A special, boxed deluxe edition will also be available, and, for the first time ever, there will be a limited theatrical release from September 27th. This Apple Films release follows the recent, acclaimed restoration of Yellow Submarine which was released in the DVD and BD formats earlier this year.
"Paul said 'Look I've got this idea' and we said 'great!' and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top - that's where we started," Ringo Starr recalled of the film that follows one Richard Starkey and his recently widowed Auntie Jessie (Jessie Robins) on a British tour bus. Ringo and Auntie Jesse are joined by tour director Jolly Jimmy Johnson (Derek Royle), hostess Miss Wendy Winters (Mandy Weet), conductor Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler), and of course, the other Beatles, who portray whimsical magicians alongside pal and road manager Mal Evans. Victor Spinetti, who also appeared in A Hard Day’s Night and Help! with the Fabs, appeared as an army drill sergeant in one scene in the loosely-plotted, largely unscripted adventure.
Of course, the central attraction of any Beatles film was bound to be the music, and Magical Mystery Tour featured group composition “Flying” and of course, title song “Magical Mystery Tour” in addition to “The Fool on the Hill,” “Your Mother Should Know,” “I Am the Walrus,” “Blue Jay Way” and more. Those six songs were originally released in the U.K. on a double-EP soundtrack. (The film itself offers a few more instrumental pieces, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band even got into the act performing “Death Cab for Cutie.”) Capitol Records added a few non-album singles to create a Magical Mystery Tour LP that is today a part of the standardized Beatles catalogue. Both the EP and American LP preceded the television airing of the film.
Hit the jump for more, including the complete list of special features and pre-order links!
The October release marks Magical Mystery Tour’s first appearance on Blu-ray. It was available in the past on a DVD released in 1997. Special features on the DVD and BD are as follows:
- Director's Commentary by Paul McCartney
- The Making of Magical Mystery Tour (19m 05s) - Features interviews with Paul and Ringo, along with other cast members and crew. Includes unseen footage.
- Ringo the actor (2m 30s) - Ringo reflecting on his role in the film.
- Meet The Supporting Cast (11m 27s) - A feature on the background and careers of Nat Jackley, Jessie Robins, Ivor Cutler, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Victor Spinetti, George Claydon, and Derek Royle.
- “Your Mother Should Know” (2m 35s) – newly-edited with footage not in the original film
- “Blue Jay Way” (3m 53s) - newly-edited with footage not in the original film
- “The Fool On The Hill” (3m 05s) - newly-edited with footage not in the original film
- Hello Goodbye (3m 24s), as featured in Top of the Pops 1967 - The Beatles allowed the BBC to film them in the edit suite where they were working on Magical Mystery Tour. This was then turned into a promo by the BBC, who shot their own additional footage. It was then broadcast on Top of the Pops to mark the “Hello Goodbye” single going to No. 1 in December 1967.
- Nat's Dream (2m 50s) - A scene directed by John featuring Nat Jackley and not included in the original film.
- Ivor Cutler – “I’m Going in a Field” (2m 35s) - Ivor performs “I’m Going in a Field” in a field. This scene was not included in the original film.
- Traffic – “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” (1m 53s) - The filming of Traffic acting out their 1967 hit single “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” was commissioned by The Beatles for possible inclusion in Magical Mystery Tour but was not used in the final edit.
The limited edition deluxe edition is housed in a 10” x 10” box. It includes the film on both DVD and Blu-ray, and all special features listed above, plus a 60 page book with background information, photographs and documentation from the production. Lastly, this set includes a reproduction of the mono double 7" vinyl EP of the films six new songs. (By contrast, the standard editions will include an 8-page booklet.)
The standard DVD and BD editions, as well as the deluxe box set, are due in North America on October 9, with international releases arriving one day earlier on October 8. A selection of Magical Mystery merchandise is available at The Beatles’ website.
You can order each version below!
The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (DVD)
The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (BD)
The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (DVD/Blu-ray Collectors’ Box)
Jason Michael says
That collector's box looks very nice. The Magical Mystery Tour 7" vinyl EP is the only Beatles vinyl I don't have. Mind you, I would rather have an original analog as this is no doubt derived from the digital sources used to create the Mono Box.
I bought a copy of the current DVD a year or two back and it is awful. The quality of the print matches the quality of film. The extras should make this worth the upgrade.
Simon Franklin says
That DVD was a bootleg/pirate (take your choice) and not an official release. I picked up a copy of the original VHS video release down my local market earlier this year and was able to see the film for the first time ever. An interesting experience!
Bradley James says
I have a stereo copy of the original UK Double 7" but will no doubt be eyeing the collector's box. I'm enjoying these odd 7" vinyl reissues. First the Target store t-shirt combo boxes, then the Record Store Day red box, now this... pretty cool! Especially excited for the 5.1 surround sound mixes. It will also be interesting to see how the film converts to blu ray.
William Keats says
This may be a case where the bonus features will be far more interesting than the feature itself, which is pretty incoherent even by 60s standards. I sat through MMT exactly once on VHS but will do so again in high-res... it will be tough, however. Will be nice to have the unused songs, given the original film's short running time (I assume the original was edited tightly to fit the TV slot, but still there are sections that easily could have been cut shorter to make room for a 2 minute song or two, like the spaghetti dream.)
I have to agree--unlike HDN and "Help", Paul and Ringo seem to actually have participated in the creation of this reissue. I once taped the film off of the Disney Channel and it was essentialy unwatchable.
Awesome soundtrack album, however--it was remastered back on 9/9/09.
Haven't seen this one in years... It used to air on USA's "Night Flight" (remember that?) back in the 80's a bunch. I thought it was trippy, albeit stupid, fun. I know it's not great, but it fascinates me nonetheless.
So I'll probably pick this one up, though I can't imagine anyone paying to see this short, bizarre film theatrically. Why bother?
This also raises the obvious question: When the HELL are we getting a release of Let It Be? (and, while we're at it, Shea Stadium too).
Jason Michael says
And the "Live at the Hollywood Bowl" CD!
Brian from Canada says
According to those connected to the film, Let It Be may come to light in 2014. This obviously begs the questions as to what 2013 will bring, but given that it will be the 50th anniversary of their first #1 ("Please Please Me") and European Beatlemania, it's probably got something to do with that. 😉
I hope you're right, Brian, but I'll believe it when I actually see it and have it my hands. Like George Lucas not giving fans the original original Star Wars trilogy on blu-ray, I get the feeling we won't see Let It Be until after McCartney passes on (and I am in no rush for that to happen).
I vote for a complete edition of Beatles singles on 78 RPM in 2013, for the special price of $499, with actual reproductions of the picture sleeves.
This is great news. I rented a terrible copy of the DVD from Netflix a few months ago. Will definitely buy this. Now if only they will let us have Let It Be on DVD! And while they're at it, how about a remastered Wings "Rock Show" with the complete 1976 concert on DVD!
Brian from Canada says
Rock Show IS coming to DVD this Christmas (though by an independent producer, not MPL/Hear Music), and it looks like Wings Over America will get the Archives treatment to match — pushing Venus & Mars into 2013.
I have the original UK 7 inch vinyl with the cover just as shown in your image. That is, without the ridiculous yellow border that the USA 12 inch put on the cover around the original image.
If the USA album had simply enlarged the original to 12 inches, and not put any border on it, the cover would have been considered one of the greatest covers of all Beatles albums and would have been so much better. It shows how easy a good design can be ruined.
About the film: you can make it Blu-ray, you can even make it 3D, you can do the world's best restoration, but this film is still an incredible flop and simply a curiosity that is not worthy of real attention. The music is fine, but not the film