Never-before-seen footage of The Beatles “mucking around” in a make-up studio ahead of a television performance, shot more than half a century ago, has been released by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA).
The 49-second, black-and-white, silent video clip was filmed with an 8mm camera belonging to Australian dancer and make-up artist Dawn Swane, who was working at Granada TV in Manchester, UK at the time.
The footage, from November 1, 1965, shows the four members of the legendary band having fun in front of the camera as their make-up is applied.
“I was in the make-up room. And so we were having some champagne,” Ms Swane, now 83, said in a statement released by the NFSA.
“And anyway, I don’t know if it was John [Lennon] or if it was Ringo [Starr] but they took the camera off me and said: ‘This is no way to use a camera’, and they sort of jiggled it upside down and inside out a bit, and everybody was just mucking around.
“But that was great. I mean they were a nice group of people. They really were.”
The clip was donated by Ms Swane’s daughter, Melinda Doring, as part of a collection of home movies and video recordings.
The collection documents Ms Swane’s career and begins in 1957, when she was touring Europe as a dancer with the London Festival Ballet.
Ms Swane returned to Sydney in 1958 after injuring her back, where she worked for ABC TV and the Nine Network in various roles, including head of Bandstand’s make-up department.
She filmed the footage of the Beatles after returning to London in the 1960s, where she regularly took her camera to the Granada studio.
Ms Swane’s footage also featured other famous musicians, actors and directors, including British actor Michael Caine.
Ms Swane also kept the original call sheet for the television program the performers were preparing for, The Music of Lennon & McCartney, which has on it autographs from all four Beatles as well as legendary American composer Henry Mancini.
Footage ‘significantly rare’
“We don’t have anything as significantly rare in the collection in terms of a home movie,” NFSA assistant film curator Tara Marynowsky said.
“[To have] something so high-profile is just quite incredible to have, especially when our client, Dawn Swane, held onto it for quite some time.
“Years and years later, we get to uncover this and make that available to audiences … it’s really, really rare actually.”
Ms Doring said she first saw the footage as a teenager, but came across it again four years ago and realised it was starting to have “vinegar syndrome”, a chemical process which causes film to deteriorate.
“I knew there was stuff there that needed to be preserved, so I knew it was the right time to ring up the archive and get it stabilised and preserved before it would have been lost forever,” she said.