The Sixth Beatle

DOCS D: Tony Guma, John Rose. U.S./UK/Germany. 100.

DOCS D: Tony Guma, John Rose. U.S./UK/Germany. 100 min. Hot Docs Cinema Sep 16, 3 pm, Scotiabank 1. Rating: NN

There’s a kernel of a story in this doc about the Beatles’ first promoter, Sam Leach: plucky music lover gives lads their first break (he booked the essential gigs in Liverpool and Hamburg where they honed their chops) only to be tossed aside and erased from Beatles history, mostly by egotistical manager Brian Epstein.

Lovely to give Leach his due, and first drummer Pete Best is a soulful presence. I hadn’t known that his mother, Mona, played such an important role in the band’s developments.

But the parade of bitter Liverpudlians, especially early manager Alan Williams, repeatedly groaning about the wealthy Epstein taking over – there’s a whiff of anti-Semitism here – gets tiresome. And it’s laughable that a film trying to set the historical record straight never mentions Stu Sutcliffe, who was with the band in Hamburg.

Talk about erasing history.

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