The UK was at the height of Beatlemania when A Hard Day’s Night arrived in 1964. Now 50 years on it gets special treatment for this brand new blu-ray release…
Celebrating its 50th birthday with a grand-spanking new digital restoration, Richard Lester’s epochal rock n’ roll pop flick still looks as sprightly and mischievous today as it did when the Beatles first conquered cinemas five decades ago. The year is 1964 and the Beatles are about to change the world – if only the madcap world will let them out of their hotel room. Richard Lester’s boldly contemporary rock n’ roll comedy unleashes the fledgling Beatles into a maelstrom of screaming fans, paranoid producers, rabid press and troublesome family members, and reveals the secret of their survival and success: an insatiable lust for mischief and a life-affirming addiction to joy.
Cleverly blending nouvelle vague-style aesthetics with completely absurdist humour, as well as a documentary/cinema vérité eye for detail, both Lester and screenwriter Alun Owen manage to effectively pre-invent the modern pop video whilst simultaneously offering an achingly astute portrait of a black-and-white Britain, at a point when it was teetering on the edge of a colourful cultural revolution. The end result is a piece of cinema that is part musical bonanza, part laugh-out-loud farce, and part satirical social document.
Of course, with it being a film about the Beatles, the film effectively recites their greatest hits, which include And I Love Her, Tell Me Why, Can’t Buy Me Love, I Should Have Known Better, and so on. These songs find the band at the height of their hit-making powers, while great supporting performances from Victor Spinetti, Norman Rossington, and a “very clean” Wilfrid Brambell (of Steptoe and Son fame) only adds more to the weirdness and madness of the entire project. The reason you should go and see this film is, not just because it has a great track record of Beatles hits, but it’s because it’s such a great film that has stood the test of time, and cleverly captures Beatlemania and 60s pop culture.
The question is: What must it have been like to see this on its first run and how does it hold up now? If you’re one of those old enough to remember, then you can take the opportunity now to relive your childhood dreams, while younger, and more modern, viewers should prepare to be baffled and amazed about the impact of Beatlemania. A Hard Day’s Night is still a delight to watch and has proven itself to be a true rock-and-roll movie classic.
Written by Ryan Pollard
Directed by: Richard Lester
Written by: Alun Owen
Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Victor Spinetti, Maggie d’Abo
Released: 1964 / Genre: Comedy / Country: UK / IMDB