The Beatles' first and best film, A Hard Day's Night, turns 50 this year (what?) and United Artists will celebrate by bringing the groundbreaking flick back to theaters this summer for a brief run. Directed by Richard Lester, A Hard Day's Night put The Beatles wit, charm, and original style up on the big screen in bold, beautifully shot black and white and forever cemented the fab four's personalities in the minds of their fans: John the wit, Paul the charmer, George the philosopher, and Ringo--well--he's Ringo. Much to their chagrin, the Beatles themselves could never shake these masks. But they loved the film, too.
Lester shot in the cool cinéma vérité style that Jean Luc Godard had used with his landmark film, Breathless. That meant lots of running, shaky camera shots, and in- your-face profiles. Lester, who shared The Beatles' quick wit, also threw in a good dose of Three Musketeers revelry as well (which he later directed). Sound familiar? The Monkees, MTV, and reality tv all got their start here.
More than any other Beatle enterprise, A Hard Day's Night is the one contribution that everyone seems to agrees on. If you don't leave the theater smiling, you indeed must have a heart of stone. As Sun Records' Sam Phillips once said (of Elvis), The Beatles here aren't middle of the road, they're all over the road.
A Hard Day's Night has aged remarkably well; it's got a loose script, it's light on its feet, and of course, the soundtrack is a full-on assault of Beatle power, circa 1964, only a year or so removed from their club days in Hamburg. If you can find Phil Collins in the audience during the concert at the end, let us know. A DVD and Blu-ray release is scheduled for late July. A Hard Day's Night, will have a short run starting July 4 in the USA. Happy Birthday, America.
Turn left at Greenland, get out your Epiphone Viola Bass and your Epiphone EJ-160E, and watch the girls go wild.