3. THE HOURS AND TIMES
(1991, Directed and Written by Christopher Münch)
The third great Beatles movie is The Hours and Times, a fictional dramatisation of the 1963 Spanish holiday shared by John Lennon and the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, just before Beatlemania broke not only across Britain but across the world.
This brief trip abroad has always been hugely important in both the Beatles story and, even more importantly, the Beatles mythology. Famously, John Lennon struck another Liverpudlian musician who alleged that he had been “Brian’s bum-boy.” Whether or not Lennon and Epstein had sex (and the film suggests that they at least came close to going to bed with each other, before Lennon found some female company), The Hours and The Times is a fantastic and fantastical reimagining of a central event in the central relationship that launched The Beatles, between the band’s leader at the time (before he was eventually matched and then eclipsed by Paul McCartney) and the manager-mentor who saw something in the band before the rest of the world did.
For a while, Ian Hart seemed only to play John Lennon in movies (he repeated the trick in Backbeat), but if an actor is only going to play one role they could do a lot worse than that role being John Lennon. Hart shows all of Lennon’s wit and energy, especially when he is dancing round the hotel room to one of his beloved Little Richard records, but also his self-loathing, which gave birth to many of his greatest songs. Equally, however, David Angus is superb as Epstein, the ultimate “FM” (frustrated musician), who can only watch in wonder as his protégé works his magic on young women and anyone else who comes into his orbit.