In February 1964, Emilio Lari was a young Italian photographer recently arrived in London when he ambitiously—perhaps foolhardily—decided to horn his way into the filming of A Hard Day’s Night. The movie already had an official production photographer, Dave Thompson, but Lari made enough of an impression on Dick Lester that the director invited him to the set. Lari not only snapped off some iconic shots of the frolicking Fabs that ended up getting published, but also earned himself the position of production photographer on The Beatles’ second film.
Lari’s new book, The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help!, collects more than 125 of those B&W and color photos, mostly taken at The Beatles’ mod pad during the filming of the “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” sequence and at the field where they caught the militaristic “I Need You” and “The Night Before” sequences. The most pleasurable images find the guys goofing around between shots. Paul strokes his Hofner violin bass with an invisible bow. George wears his huge, square grin. Ringo takes a snooze while John reads a comic book. John wears a long wig with a bow and flashes the peace sign—certainly one of the first of many times he’d make that gesture for a camera.
Most of these shots were snapped at the flat, and some fans may be a bit put off by seeing the legendary peaceniks monkeying around with rifles and heavy artillery at the field location. But Lari’s pictures are always compelling… how could they not be with such compelling subjects? He’d go on to photograph such iconic film shoots as Barbarella, The Godfather, and Raging Bull, but there’s no question that the biggest stars he ever captured are in The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help! Get it on Amazon.com here.