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‘Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (review)

Written and Directed by Scott Freiman
Featuring Scott Freiman, Janet Maslin


Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is less a documentary as much as it is a document of a very well researched and entertaining multi-media academic presentation.

Scott Freiman is a Beatles expert who has taken this stage presentation around the world to rapt audiences, taking them through a brief history of the Beatles and pop music in general before diving into what drove the band to transition into studio artists as opposed to pop performers in the mid-sixties.

The movie is quite dense at times, leaving even this fervent music fan hoping that he speeds up a section or two.

Ultimately, these long detours into detail are rewarding and, dare I say it, even sometimes cathartic as he exposes isolated tracks from the records, sound clips from interviews with the Beatles and George Martin, and other film sources while discussing the choices each band member might have made and why.

Music documentaries are tricky things in the sense that, without a background of scandal, they put the love the audience has for the artist’s material to test.

Oftentimes addressing this can turn the documentary into nothing more than a fan worshipping the artist as a paean to the audience’s reverence. Other times, it can do what Deconstructing the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper chooses to do: furiously analyze the history of the artist and present conclusions that the audience can take or leave.


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