Ringo Starr Once Said Re-Watching ‘Help!’ Made a ‘Crazy Bit’ Stick Out to Him

The Beatles inspired so much of the music that came after them that it’s hard not to think of them as innovators in every way. However, they followed Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra as they waltzed onto the silver screen. George Harrison had strong feelings about viewing Let It Be, and Ringo Starr once said re-watching Help! years later revealed something crazy he hadn’t noticed before.

Ringo Starr films 'Help!' in 1965. Ringo said one aspect of 'Help!' stood out to him as weird and crazy when he re-watched the movie years after it came out.
Ringo Starr in ‘Help!’ | John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ringo Starr enjoyed a film career outside The Beatles

All the Beatles continued making music after the band split, but George and Ringo’s second acts included working in the film industry.

George appeared onscreen in a few small roles in the 1970s and 1980s, but he racked up more than two dozen producer credits, including Monty Python’s Life of Brian. For Ringo, acting was another creative outlet aside from showcasing his impressive drumming skills.

Outside of Beatles-related projects, his film debut came in 1968’s Candy, a movie that included acting legends such as Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, James Coburn, and Walter Matthau. Years later, Ringo met his second wife, Barbara Bach, while filming Caveman.

Yet 1965’s Help! was one of Ringo’s (and the rest of the Fab Four’s) first feature films. When he re-watched it years later, Ringo noticed one weird thing about the movie that threw him off.

Ringo noticed a ‘crazy bit’ when he re-watched ‘Help!’ that made it ‘really weird’ seeing it again

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Between the recording sessions and non-stop touring, it’s hard to fathom how the Beatles had time to film a movie in the mid-1960s. They made Help! against all odds and it was generally well received, with a Rotten Tomatoes score nearing 90%.

When the movie made its way to DVD, Ringo had a chance to re-watch Help! at a Los Angeles-area screening. As he told BBC television host Jonathan Ross (via YouTube), he found seeing the movie again to be “really weird” as a “crazy bit” stuck out to him:

“We had a lot of fun making it, but they had a showing in L.A. that I was just at, and it was really weird seeing it again. The crazy bit for me was, when the scenes were happening, they were silent. Now, if you see any scene, it’s got music and effects going over it. This was, ‘Well, John, what do you think?’ and ‘Well, OK Ringo.’ It was like, where’s the music? I’m so used to it in films.”

Ringo Starr on the crazy part of re-watching Help!

Ringo made those comments to Ross in 2008, but they still hold true today. Most movies include effects in many scenes; that’s just filmmaking in the 21st century. At the same time, some directors (we’re looking at you, Christopher Nolan) include score music that’s nearly as loud as the dialogue. The former Richard Starkey is used to modern cinema, with its effects- and score-heavy scenes. That’s why Ringo found re-watching Help! and its scenes of quiet dialogue so crazy. 

What the Beatles thought of ‘Help!’

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Audiences and critics generally liked the movie, and Ringo told Ross that the Beatles had fun making Help! He and John Lennon admitted years later that the entire band was high for nearly the whole shoot. Ringo said the drug intake helped make the shoot fun, but the Beatles’ pot-smoking made it nearly impossible for everyone else on the set.

The ever-candid John later said making Help! was a humiliating experience. While filming abroad in Austria and the Bahamas, the Beatles had to meet with fans and their families. John could hardly stand the comments and criticism. He admitted he resorted to drinking heavily to get through the meet-and-greets.

Filming Help! was fun for Ringo, but re-watching it years later with a clear mind made the moments of quiet dialogue feel a little crazy to him.

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