George Harrison had the most challenging time at the end of The Beatles. He was fighting with Paul McCartney over the directions of certain songs while John Lennon chilled in the background with Yoko Ono and Ringo Starr questioned himself as a drummer. George was ready to leave and did leave at one point, only to return briefly.
Later, after George had success in his solo career, George didn’t really look back on his days as a Beatle. Why would he? Back then, George just slipped a uniform on and became “Beatle George,” but that wasn’t him. So if George only lived in the now, and didn’t like to dredge up his days as a Beatle, one of the band’s films wouldn’t have been a joy to see years later.
George Harrison didn’t like looking back at his time in The Beatles
In a rare 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George talked about his time in The Beatles and his thoughts about the band nearly twenty years after they disbanded. He said all those years later, fans still wanted a piece of The Beatles and that he enjoyed the days when the band was still playing clubs before the fame ruined them. “It was a bit boring being fab,” George said.
“Then is then and now is now,” George continued to explain. He didn’t like looking back on anything, least of all The Beatles. Being in the band made him paranoid and anxious. So he hardly listened to old Beatles records in his spare time to relive the good ol’ times. Likewise, he virtually never rewatched any of the band’s films.
George Harrison got ‘aggravated’ watching ‘Let It Be’
Out of all The Beatles’ films, George had a hard time rewatching Let It Be because it brought back painful memories, more than anything else.
The interviewer asked George to look back at The Beatles’ films now that he was a filmmaker. He said that the first couple of movies, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, were OK, but Let It Be wasn’t. He said that the film was only supposed to show The Beatles rehearsing, but it captured something else.
George called the film Let It Rot. “That, you know, I didn’t like,” he explained. “There’s scenes in it-on the roof, that was quite good, and there’s bits and pieces that’s OK, but most of it just makes me so aggravated that I can’t watch it. Because it was a particularly bad experience that we were having at that time, and it’s bad enough when you’re having it, let alone having it filmed and recorded so that you get to watch it for the rest of your life. I don’t like it.”
The interviewer joked it’s like reliving an accident, and George agreed. “It’s terrible,” he concluded. Meanwhile, watching the film made Kiss’ Peter Criss so sad that he cried like a baby when he first watched it.
George related the other Beatles films to The Rutles
Under the circumstances, George thought that A Hard Day’s Night and Help! were good films. Those films just happened for the band. Dick Lester, the director of both films, only spent three days with The Beatles to try and get to know them and their personalities to write the script for A Hard Day’s Night. George thought he did a good job getting everyone correct.
George explained, “I think the magic about it was, that at least he picked up the idea, the vibe of what was happening on the road and translated that into a- it wasn’t a brilliant-but it was adequate, and considering we were all pretty useless at acting, I think Dick Lester should take a lot of credit because it was his ability and his experience with comedy that he’d done before. He had a great sense of humor, and he had a great ability to let us be what we were, and I think that all worked out good.”
George continued to say that Help! had to step up a bit, being a colored film. However, it was still “pretty funny” to him in a “slightly dumb” and “Rutles” way. On the other hand, Let It Be was actually dumb to George and wouldn’t have been made if it were up to him.