The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 16, 1967

Joe Orton begins writing a script for The Beatles’ third film

In 1967 English playwright Joe Orton was asked by producer Walter Shenson to write a script for The Beatles' third film.

Shenson, producer of the films A Hard Day's Night and Help!, asked Orton to rework a draft script written by a now-unknown writer. In Orton's diary entry for January 12, 1967 he noted that Shenson had called Orton's agent and said that he had a script. Although Shenson considered it to be "dull", he asked if Orton might take a look. Orton agreed, and had read it by 15 January when he wrote:

Like the idea. Basically it is that there aren't four young men. Just four aspects of one man. Sounds dreary, but as I thought about it I realised what wonderful opportunities it would give.

Diary of Joe Orton

Orton met Shenson on January 16, and began writing what would become Up Against It. He also met Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein on January 24th. A contract was drawn up, which allowed Orton to buy back the script rights if it were rejected.


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