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A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

December 11, 2009

VERDICT:
8/10 Heartthrobs

It’s hanging out with The Beatles for an hour and a half. Awesome.

A Hard Day’s Night is pretty much about The Beatles having to go on tour to promote their new album as the play gigs, run away from all their screaming teenybopper fans, act presentable at press junkets, and keep the band together all the while having to babysit Paul’s creepy, horny grandfather so that he doesn’t cause any more trouble for them.

My life in a nutshell.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume times have changed in the world of rock and roll lifestyles since ’64, but this was a simpler time, a time when bowl cuts were hot, when it was normal for a band to put out seven albums in a year (that trend needs to come back), when music was just straight-up fun. Man, I miss that time.

I’d heard this movie was good going into it, but I was still pretty skeptical considering all the other Beatles movies are supposed to be garbage. But hey, looks like all the rumors are true.

So there’s not much of a story here, nor is there much conflict or character development, but, for once, that’s beside the point. Director Richard Lester knows that The Beatles aren’t actors, and since no one’s going to see this movie hoping to see John play King Lear, everything works out just fine as a result. They have their lines to deliver – all of which require zero acting chops – but you can tell that they’re just trying to be themselves without putting on a show for their audience. It ends up being a really cool kind of insight into the normal, jovial personalities of the biggest band in the world, an insight that you really don’t get from listening to their albums.

It’s also cool, if not somewhat sad, to see the guys at a time in their career when they were simply a group of clean-cut friends still getting used to their newfound fame. Makes listening to Let It Be that much more bittersweet.

Then again, the music is as much a part of this movie as anything else. It’s The Beatles, what did you expect? And considering that all the Beatles albums’ are freakin’ phenomenal, soundtracks don’t get much better than this either. Seeing the movie probably isn’t as good of an introduction to the band as it to just listen to the album, but that’s just me, either way you’ll hopefully be sold.

But the most surprising thing about this movie is that it’s actually really funny. A lot of the dialogue is really witty and the plot ends up being an excuse to go from one great gag to the next and I couldn’t believe at how many times I found myself laughing out loud. Not only does it work really well in shedding a new light on the band, it also shows that they had a great sense of humor to boot. Either that or the script is just really funny, but I like to think it’s a little bit of both.

And strangely enough, I actually ended up liking Ringo the most. Still not my favorite Beatle, but way to go Ringo all the same.

A Hard Day’s Night is just a fun, lighthearted movie that doesn’t feel dated over fifty years later and serves as a really cool inside look into the personalities of the Fab Four that I never knew were there. Even if you’ve never heard a single song by them, even if you have George’s face tattooed on your chest, this movie is a great time that also serves as a wonderful little document to the personas of what a lot of folks would argue were the greatest band of all-time.

Like I said – awesome.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. nothatwasacompliment permalink
    December 11, 2009 11:46 am

    While this is my favorite Beatles movie, I would also recommend Help!

    It’s a little plot heavy, but there’s still plenty of the fab four just being their goofy selves.

    • December 11, 2009 11:49 am

      I’ll check that out, I saw it was the same director so I figured that might be the only other good one. Thanks for the heads up, man.

  2. December 12, 2009 12:14 pm

    I think Help! gets too caught up in its plot and the writing seems to base the Beatles’ personalities off of the exaggeration of Hard Day’s Night than the true characteristics that informed that film. A Hard Day’s Night strikes me as just about the perfect rock movie (excepting documentaries) because Lester’s innovative editing made even the visuals a part of the rock dynamic and tied them to the music in a way that hadn’t been done before. It’s not just a fun ride, it’s one of the most important films of the ’60s for its invention.

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