'Good Ol' Freda' tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: the Beatles. As the Beatles' fame multiplies, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history but never exploits her insider access. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda finally tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.Written by
The DVD special features include an interview with director Ryan White in which he says, "Freda had just graduated from school and was working her first job as a secretary, as a typist, at a food cannery; and two of the guys from upstairs, two of the accountants, took her to the Cavern during a lunchtime session. She'd never seen The Beatles or heard of The Beatles, and they used to play the lunchtime sessions every day in Liverpool. So they took her for her lunch break, and she fell in love right away, and started going every single day; I think she saw The Beatles like 180 times during their lunchtime sessions. So The Beatles became familiar with Freda always being in the audience, so when it became time to hire a secretary, they knew that there was this girl that was always there, and she got hired. She was 17 years old." See more »
I know Mama Cass tried to gate-crash, and she didn't get in.
[in reference to a small, inner-circle party that followed the premiere of "How I Won the War"; from one of the deleted scenes on the DVD]
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A personal video message from Ringo Starr plays over the credits. See more »
There probably isn't much to know about the Beatles that hasn't already been revealed in the forty-odd years since they disbanded, and if there were, their former secretary Freda Kelly probably wouldn't tell you. There is some nice information on the Beatles' early career, most notably on their days at the Cavern Club, but this is not so much a documentary about the Beatles as a documentary about what it's like to run a fan club for a cultural phenomenon.
What makes the movie so enjoyable is Freda herself. The distinctly unglamorous woman is wonderfully likable, and it is charming to hear her talk about the pains she took to make sure fans got what they wanted (she continually emphasizes that she was a fan herself). She also tells a little of the Beatles' relatives and varying incidents such as one in which George drunkenly fires her.
But the heart of the movie is Freda, whose loyalty and caring make her surprisingly compelling.
There are a lot of sources for information on the Beatles; this movie is less an insider's view of them than a look at the experience of being an insider. And that turns out to be very interesting.
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