The film telling the story of John Lennon and Brian Epstein’s trip to Spain in 1963 is now getting a new UK Blu-ray release.
This year sees the 30th anniversary of The Hours and Times, Christopher Munch’s film about the trip to Barcelona that John Lennon and Beatles manager Brian Epstein took together in April 1963. And thanks to boutique Blu-ray label Plumeria – who recently re-released 1992 rom-com Soft Top Hard Shoulder to great acclaim – the anniversary will be marked with an extras-packed Blu-ray sourced from the 2019 restoration.
Shot, like so much Beatles news footage, in black and white, The Hours And Times casts David Angus as Epstein and Ian Hart as Lennon (a few years before he reprised the role in Iain Softley’s Backbeat) in a playful, freewheeling story that speculates about a homosexual liaison between the two men. “The Hours and Times deals with a small episode in the lives of two beloved and complex rock music figures,” Munch said in 2019. “Their 1963 holiday in Spain was written about in several Beatles biographies and became the subject of speculation and myth.”
Made for a meagre £10,000 – the legacy of a departed relative – the film was shot on location in Barcelona, notably the Avenida Palace, a favourite haunt of The Beatles. “It was thanks to the immense talents of the film’s two actors, Ian Hart and David Angus, that we were able to shoot in roughly the length of time that Epstein and Lennon’s actual holiday probably took – about four days over a long weekend.”
After two years in the edit suite, Munch emerged with a completed 58-minute cut – just as the movement known as New Queer Cinema was hitting arthouse cinemas around the world, thanks in part to the efforts of Good Machine co-founders James Schamus and Ted Hope. “James and Ted were the finest mentors I could ever have hoped for, and I’ll always be grateful for their models of integrity and resourcefulness. Without them and the several superb journalists who took every opportunity to champion the film, it might never have gotten past the obstacle of its length and lack of advertising budget.” Critics who gave the film a warm reception included Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers (“unforgettable … brave and moving”) and The Village Voice’s Amy Taubin, who declared it “the best American indie in many, many years.”
Thirty years on, The Hours and Times’ reputation has grown, yet it has been unavailable in the UK until now, with Plumeria re-releasing the film as a 1080p Blu-ray, with a feature-length commentary with Ian Hart and Andrew McIntosh, a new interview with Munch, and an archive UCLA conversation with Hart and Munch.
You can order your copy of the film here.
And here’s the trailer….
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