The Hours and Times imagines a weekend getaway to Barcelona during the early years of Beatlemania for both Brian Epstein and John Lennon in April 1963.
This film is one that may be running on the short side but we get some fascinating insights into the late manager and guitarist. Nobody can truly say that they know what happened when the duo departed on April 28, 1963. There has been some suggestions that maybe the two of them were having an affair but I doubt it. Larry Kane discounts the rumors, too, and he traveled with the Beatles during the first U.S. tour. It does not stop us from wondering about the “what ifs” in the scenario. Knowing what I know about John Lennon from what I’ve read about The Beatles, he very well could have done these things. At one point, Lennon goes so far as to refer to Epstein as “one queer Jew.”
This film takes place a few weeks after Lennon’s first son, Julian Lennon, was born. Would Lennon have left his wife for such a getaway knowing such stress that she was dealing with? I don’t know as that’s not for me to say.
The only critical complaint I have comes from having listened to previous audio recordings of Brian Epstein. In his portrayal of the late Beatles manager, David Angus has a slightly deeper voice than Epstein. It may not be anything major in the long run but it’s somewhat of a distraction when you’ve listened to or watched Epstein in recordings over the years. All of that aside, Angus isn’t bad in the role. This stands in stark contrast to Ian Hart, who is able to pull off the John Lennon impression. If you wish to call it an impression, that is. Hart is masterful in his feature debut. For all intents and purposes, Hart brings John Lennon back to life.
While the film is shown in black and white, it’s hard to believe that it was first released in the early 1990s. Maybe this is because Munch gives the film so much of a period look. There’s a high production value put into place between the production and costume designs. I say this with all the respect in the world. If not for The Beatles Anthology on ABC, I don’t know when I would have purchased my first CDs. Even though the film runs just shy of an hour, the production values equal that of a studio blockbuster!
This restoration of The Hours and Times would not be possible without both Sundance and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. It’s a beautiful 4K restoration of the original 35mm award-winning film. The restoration screened earlier this year in the From the Collection program of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Christopher Munch
CAST: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack, Robin McDonald, Sergio Moreno, Unity Grimwood