The Beatles, ‘The Ultimate Mystery Trip Volume 2 – The Magic Continues’ (HMC / TMOQ Gazette HMC 045)
DVD 1; On Top Of The Bus / Blue Jay Way / Fish and Chips / I Am The Walrus / Jessie’s Dream / Death Cab For Cutie / Your Mother Should Know / The Crowd / In The Lab / Blue Jay Way – Slate 83, take 7 / Your Mother Should Know (Trims) / Various Films / Southwest at 6 / Opening comparison / Mini documentary / 1974 trailer / The Beatles On Record / 2012 trailer.
DVD 2; The Magic continues – The originals.
The HMC label released ‘The Ultimate Mystery Trip Vol. 2’ almost as soon as the first DVD landed with dealers. The first volume, as you’ll remember was a bulk of brand new outtakes bounced down to collectors from the high ends and furnished with matching audio from the soundtrack along with other oddities to flesh out the tasty footage inside. The second set continues the fun that we had by bringing us more of the same. As you’ll know, there was very little that had previously leaked out on the previous set and so it’s launch was hugely appreciated within Beatles circles. There’s no way to shortcut the plaudits for this set either – It’s a veritable festoon of footage from that crazy trip around in the UK’s most psychedelic sharabank trip and it’s appearance means that we once again get to rubberneck the madness of what the Fabs were trying to capture. Here’s a breakdown of what the set contains;
On Top Of The Bus – Featuring a few minutes of the Paul and Ringo rising out of the bus’ skylight then all four fabs popping up – Quite the sight to see if you were motoring down the opposite side of that particular stretch of road.
Blue Jay Way – Another alternate to the video that took it’s place on the first set. A lot more of George and his chalk keyboard with just a couple of short clips of the garden scene cross faded in to the middle and in to the coda. The camera remains on George.
Fish and Chips – Is exactly what it says it is. pro-shot video of the bus’ pit-stop to a local chippy, complete with slates and realtime sound. The camera pans around the establishment as the group eat their dinners, Mal takes out a box to the bus – All rather ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.
I Am The Walrus – Another alternate to the music video, set mainly as the band play together. Shot on three cameras – The Fabs from behind, the band all in the frame and a close up of Paul and John. The main focus is the long range shot. The coda features a clip of the bus driving away, only to vanish and leave the band standing alone in the distance in a field dressed in their animal outfits. This time, the audio strips away the Shakespearean speech to leave an earlier version of the track.
Jessie’s dream – Is a mixture of a static shot of the little man stood in a pendulum cage, cutting half way through to different takes of the food scene as Jessie ups and leaves only to rehearse her entrance again.
Death Cab For Cutie – is a different take of the Bonzo’s performance. Two camera angles are used, the first a longford shot of the full band, the second focuses back on to Legs Larry Smith on drums. In full colour, you’ll be pleased to hear that this version comes uncensored, if you’re not a fan of the Bonzo’s, you’ll certainly find something else that’ll keep your interest (That’s if boobs are your bag, of course.)
Your Mother Should Know – Another alternate for this song. The Fabs begin with their Busby Berkley stair decent before the squadron girls arrive to the side, the camera then pans from the ceiling, before a third shot shows the Beatles from the side and appearing from between the crowd.
The Crowd – Slightly out of sync with the DVDs artwork, the title track plays as we see various shows of the crowd from the bus as shot from above. Variously laughing, waving, whooping and finally sitting and then jumping around before setting off camera.
In The Lab – Is a collection of shots of ‘the wizards’ as they mess about rehearing their lines, taking different scenes. The footage is intermittent with ‘flying’ over the top which drops to allow the speech that was recorded through this studio session. To be honest, it might be the least entertaining segment of this DVD and if I hear “Where’s the bus?” once again, I’ll build my own time machine, travel back to 1967 and punch Ringo in the face myself.
The scene ends on the red lit lab, empty of Beatles, a lick of flames under the test tubes at the front.
Blue Jay Way (Slate 83, Take 7) – A one shot scene of George sat at his chalk keyboard, taken from his left hand side. He almost cracks up when the dry ice becomes too much and catches on his tonsils. Other than that, it’s a very studious George.
Your Mother Should Know (Trims) – As the title suggests, odds and ends from the shooting of this video, too good to dump, they’re all set to the CV of the track – There is some Beatle involvement but there is also an awful lot of ballroom dancers from the alternate shots.
Various films – Again, a collection of unused trims. Mainly Super 8 and 16 mm shot odds and ends, the soundtrack is ‘It’s All Too Much’ (Possibly the only song long enough to soundtrack this collection of pieces.) Lots of Beatles involvement here, mainly entering around the bus both inside and out, sat on the grass at the seaside and in the middle of the media scrum.
Various oddities and edits fill the DVDs end, many of which will have been in collectors circles but are gathered here for posterity;
Southwest At 6 – Is a local TV puff piece about the Beatles visit to Cornwall. The footage is black and white and crisp, featuring a short interview with Macca, however, the sound is atrociously quiet at best and really rather difficult to listen to
Opening Comparison – A collection of the opening scenes from the various permeations of home movie releases of the film taken from four sources – the 1978 VHS, 1988 laser disk, 1997 DVD and the 2012 release of the DVD. Not a bad little comp it certainly highlights the efforts of the different producers in rectifying the various versions of this movie. The 1978 video looks awful and underdone by the time the laserdisc appeared, That in turn has the richest colours which were dulled down by the advent of the DVD. Upon it’s 2012 remaster the colours have been sharpened to their best quality again (however ridiculously unnatural they ended up looking) though the image is marginally softer looking than the initial DVD release.
Mini documentary – An short EPK documentary spliced together with a current interview by Paul (John, Ringo and George also chatter but where vintage audio is used). There are a couple of studio chatter outtakes but these are not new and tend to fly by almost without notice.
1974 trailer – Another obscurity but not a specific ‘must have’, the visuals are shot through and are a little rough to say the least.
The Beatles On Record – An excerpt from the 2009 BBC broadcast but in greater quality than the internet and without the watermark.
2012 trailer – Promotion for the 2012 reissue, you’ll see nothing new if you have that but collectors will at least have this trailer in the right place now.
The DVD finishes with a trailer for Volume 1 of ‘The Ultimate Mystery Trip’. Again, I’m assuming that you have that set as you’ve been looking forward to this one. It’s an exceptional release and the two have to be seen for the full MMT outtake experience.
The second DVD features a celebration of sorts of the audio to this film – Unfortunately, it’s not unhithero heard outtakes but two versions of the audio to one version of the 1988 laserdisc remaster – Considered, it says here, to be the best mastering and unadulterated version of the film available. Hard to argue with that as it is the film as it was meant to be seen with nothing drafted in, nothing taken out. The audio – As with the 1988 remastering of Shea and LIB – sounds great and full though we also have the original mono soundtrack as an option should you want to live that way. My choice would be for the later souped up stereo version, however, I’d certainly recommend the mono mix for a purely ‘authentic’ experience.