GOOD OL’ FREDA (director/writer: Ryan White; screenwriter: Jessica Lawson; cinematographer: Austin Hargrove; editor: Helen Kearns; music: Paul Koch; cast: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Freda Kelly; Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Kathy McCabe/Ryan White/Jessica Lawson; Magnolia Pictures; 2013)
“The genial pic, about a wonderful person, is a good watch for Beatle fans.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Ryan White(“Pelada”) helms a low-key documentary on Freda Kelly, the unassuming 17-year-old Liverpudlian the Beatles hired as their secretary, who also ran the Beatle fan club. Freda became their first secretary when the group from Liverpool were managed by Brian Epstein and signed their first record deal. The pic goes into detail of Freda’s relationship with the boys and displays her through interviews as someone with great”integrity” while working as the group’s secretary ever since 1962. Her job lasted ten years, until they went their individual ways after Brian’s suicide. Freda was with them from the beginning when they rose from unknowns, playing in the cellar of the cheeky Liverpool’s Cavern Club, a place where she caught their act, to when they soon became the world’s most popular group.
The genial pic, about a wonderful person, is a good watch for Beatle fans, as the now aged Freda, a grandma, is depicted as a loyal secretary and a true Beatle fan, who tells her story for the first time after 50 years. The insider film tells us many unknown Beatle tidbits and the way Freda glowingly perceived the group and the way she was glowingly perceived by them. We get the real deal on her warm friendship with Ringo’s mum (Freda liked calling him Richie), how the posh and moody Epstein behaved behind the scenes and how well the group took to fame. This Beatle love-fest offers no dirt but, perhaps, enough charm to seduce viewers who are not fans. There’s also some never seen before home-flavored archival footage that adds to the pic’s worth.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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