If you’re a fan of a particular era of British rock ‘n’ roll, this is the right year to be at the Telluride Film Festival. The festival’s opening day featured photographer Anton Corbijn’s ‘Squaring the Circle’, which examined rock design firm Hipgnosis through the memorabilia of Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Roger Waters, Noah Gallagher and many more. And it was followed the following afternoon by former photographer Mary McCartney’s ‘If These Walls Could Sing’, which looks at London’s Abbey Road recording studio through memories of, oh, Paul McCartney , Jimmy Page, Roger Waters, Noah Gallagher and many more.

While “Squaring the Circle” comes from a photographer and video director who has made several other feature films in the past, including “Control” and “A Most Wanted Man”, “If These Walls Could Sing” is the director’s first film. McCartney, who nonetheless comes to work with a real insider’s perspective: her dad is, of course, Paul McCartney, and she comes to the studio made famous by her dad’s band since she was a baby.

In addition to McCartney, Page, Waters and Gallagher, the film also includes interviews with Elton John, Ringo Starr, Celeste, John Williams, Cliff Richard, George Lucas, Kanye West and Giles Martin, the last of which meant the daughter of the Beatles Paul McCartney was interviewing and filming the son of Beatles producer George Martin.

With all the family ties, you’d expect “If These Walls Could Sing” to be affectionate, and it is. Mary McCartney celebrates the Abbey Road studio to the point where some footage of the film looks like it could have been taken from a promotional video, and she largely avoids the rockier stretches when the studio changed hands and could have been demolished if it was not protected by the British government with English Heritage Grade II status.

But few would head to an Abbey Road documentary in search of courage or controversy. You’ll be looking for stories about the Beatles’ recording “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (or, yeah, “Abbey Road,” the album whose cover turned the crosswalk in front of the building into a tourist attraction) , or Pink Floyd creating “The Dark Side of the Moon”, or maybe for John Williams recording the score for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or some of the “Star Wars” movies, or Kanye West performing there as direct.

And all of those stories are in “If These Walls Could Sing,” which begins in 1931 with the transformation of a nine-bedroom townhouse in London’s St. John’s Wood neighborhood into a state-of-the-art (like it was the case in 1931) recording studio. There’s footage of British composer Edward Elgar recording one of his ‘Marches Pompous et Circumstance’ with the London Symphony Orchestra, before the film jumped forward nearly three decades when Cliff Richard brought the rock ‘n’ roll at Abbey Road with “Move It”. ”

Film critic

But Richard is just an appetizer for the big band, the Beatles, who recorded most of their albums there with George Martin partly because it was a good studio and partly because their recording contract with EMI gave them unlimited studio time in a location the company owned. . (Although everyone called the studio “Abbey Road” because that’s where it was located, its real name was EMI Studios; it was officially renamed after the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road” – not immediately afterwards, as the film suggests, but six years later.)

The film jumps in time; sometimes it focuses on the studio itself, but sometimes the location is secondary to the stories about the music that was created there. Classical artists Daniel Barenboim and Jacqueline du Pré get a segment, as does Cilla Black’s recording of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Alfie’ and a young Elton John’s turn as session pianist on hit ‘He Ain’ t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies. John says he remembers ‘the smell of Abbey Road’ – which he then admits that, in his case, it was ‘the smell of fear’ coming from a newcomer who was amazed to end up in the same room as Paul McCartney at some point.

An early 1980s decision to make the studio welcoming for recording film scores is touted as key to Abbey Road’s viability in that decade, and John Williams is as eloquent as anyone. in the film to portray the virtues of the resort’s enormous Studio A. Meanwhile, Noel and Liam Gallagher, the two frequently feuding brothers who front British band Oasis, are amusing as they predictably differ (in separate interviews) over whether Oasis was indeed kicked out of ‘Abbey Road for being too loud.

While the individual stories can be fun, they’re a handbag of vignettes rather than a cohesive portrait, assuming such a thing is even possible for a venue that’s hosted so many decades of music. “If These Walls Could Sing” (title courtesy of Mary McCartney’s father) is often charming and never less than affectionate, but it’s also lighthearted, a pleasant but scattered love letter to a building, a crosswalk and a period.

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