Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas movie watching: Good Ol' Freda

Merry Christmas! I hope your morning has been relaxing. Or at least joyful over squeals and ripping wrapping paper.

My cat woke me up at 6:00. He likes to shoot a glass coaster off the coffee table. I put it under three heavy coffee table books last night to prevent his unique breakfast call, but he still managed to unearth it and shoot it off the table anyway. Good ol' Murray.

Speaking of good ol', I watched a great documentary last night. It's called Good Ol' Freda. For fifty years, the untold story of Freda Kelly remained untold, until Freda herself decided to speak. Freda was the Beatles' trusted secretary since before their rise to fame until their breakup, 11 years overall, and their friend throughout their rise to fame. Yet never then or now did she capitalize on her insider status to grab fame or money for herself. Her integrity is noted throughout the film. The movie synopsis says,
"Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teen, works for a new local band -- the Beatles -- hoping to make it big. As the band's fame multiplies, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history but never exploits her insider access."

Here is a Guardian story about the premiere, Good Ol' Freda: The Beatles' secretary tells her story.

And here is a review:
Freda Kelly was the the secretary to Brian Epstein and The Beatles and the president of the official fan club all throughout the history of the band, and started with them when she was 17 years old. She was there from the earliest club performances in the Liverpool underground – literally in the case of The Cavern – through and even beyond the breakup. Aside from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr themselves, there’s probably no one living who has more insider info and stories about those heady days than Kelly. And she’s never cashed in on that trusted relationship, nor broken confidences in 50 years. It’s that kind of integrity and trustworthiness, along with hundreds of rare Beatles photos and a soundtrack that features several Fab Four tunes that buoys Good Ol’ Freda from the opening frame.
There are hundreds of candid photos, some archival footage, and the testimony of Freda herself. A documentary that rests as much on one person as this one does needs to ensure the personality is sincere and engaging, and Freda sure is. She's humble and sincere, witty and with a twinkle in her eye, tells the story plainly, but never turning it sordid or gossipy. That's a rare thing for any documentary, but especially one involving the music business. Coming in at an hour and a half, the length is just right. And surprisingly, they managed to obtain permission for four original Beatles songs to be used in the film, along with other great music of the era. All in all, it was a pleasant surprise to discover and well worth watching. On Netflix.

Have a pleasant day with family or whatever you're doing. May it bring you peace, though the best peace of all rests in knowing the reason for the day's celebration, Jesus Christ.

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