A Hard Day’s Night
Reviews by Paul Preston
Welcome to Today I Watched…, a series of posts documenting my new challenge – watch a movie a day for the rest of my life. Keep coming back to TheMovieGuys.net to find out what I watch each day…and get my take on it.
When I see a movie that’s a new release in theaters or on demand, I’ll give it a proper review in the “Reviews” or “Home Viewing”, otherwise, I’ll write about it here.
June 26, 2017 – A Hard Day’s Night
Hard to believe I hadn’t seen this legendary Beatles movie until now, but for some reason someone where my wife works gave her the DVD to watch. It was a sign to finally cross this seminal music flick off my list.
After seeing it, I can safely say that in retrospect, there is no way this movie should have worked. The studio heads doling out money for a Beatles movie had to be sweating bullets at the first sight of this movie, probably with the same reaction Disney heads had at watching Johnny Depp slur his way through the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Studio heads were probably different then, but today’s studio knobheads would probably take The Beatles and figure out a way for them to look pretty and for all their songs to be showcased, but what A Hard Day’s Night offers up is anything but a safe ode to young schoolgirls releasing their pocketbooks.
The film opens with a now-classic shot of The Beatles running from a horde of screaming female fans and then…BITS! Just 87 minutes of BITS! It’s glorious. What would become the most popular band of all time in the middle of their worldwide dominance goes all-in on doing BITS. I just sat in wonder at it all. The story, as a backdrop for BITS, is of the band seeking refuge in various places from all the attention they get from girls and the press, all the while prepping for a TV appearance amid distractions and Ringo’s disappearance. As if The Beatles weren’t charming enough, they’ve added a recurring character in Paul’s grandfather (British comic Wilfrid Brambell), who sits around and acts odd with the boys.
One of my favorite things about this movie is that not only do songs just happen out of nowhere, but instruments appear out of nowhere to help the songs out. My favorite moment like this is early in the film when the boys find shelter in a train car and kill time with jokes and card games, then all their instruments just appear and they go into “I Should Have Known Better”. It’s wonderfully odd and hip at the same time. Same can be said of the whole film. Here’s some of the dialogue:
When Ringo gets pile of fan mail…
John: “Must have cost you a fortune in stamps, Ringo.”
George: “He comes from a large family.”
(the Ringo-ripping in this movie is endless)
At a press junket…
Reporter (to John): “How did you find America?”
John: “Turned left at Greenland.”
Reporter: “What would you call that hairstyle you’re wearing?”
I mean, what?!? The Beatles get downright surreal a lot in this film. I find it odd, given the large catalog The Beatles’ have, that they repeated couple of songs (like “Can’t Buy Me Love”) during the film, but overall his movie is gleefully off its rocker and I couldn’t have asked for a better representation of a band that is so thoroughly committed to surprising.
Directed by: Richard Lester
Release Date: July 7, 1964
Run Time: 87 Minutes
Distributor: United Artists