Instead the quartet recruited a young director named Richard Lester--who had previously worked with the Fab Four's beloved Goons--to make a movie that followed them as they enjoyed and endured the phenomenon that was Beatlemania. "The film wrote itself right in front of our eyes," says Lester. "We just took the dirty bits and cut them out." The result is a frenetic hour and a half inside the Beatles' personal space as they engage in all manner of surreal hijinks--more often than not involving Paul's "grandfather" (played by Steptoe and Son's Wilfrid Brambell) while dodging the ever-present horde of screaming fans. Although the result now seems a little dated, there remains an almost heartbreakingly good-natured aura around the foursome's naïve performances, while few could argue about the quality of a soundtrack that includes "Can't Buy Me Love", "And I Love Her" and "A Hard Day's Night" itself, to name but a few. Whether the film would have been quite so successful if Lester had followed McCartney's suggestion and called it "Oh, What a Lovely Wart!" will, sadly, never be known. --Clark Collis
Their Production will be Second to None - Filmaker interviews; Richard Lester (Director), Sir George Martin (Musical Director), David Picker (Studio Executive) Denis O'Dell (Associate Producer)
With the Beatles - The Cast; John Junkin, Lionel Blair, Kenneth Haigh, David Janson, Anna Quayle, Jeremy Lloyd, Terry Hooper
Working Like a Dog - The Production Crew; Gilbert Tayor BSC, Paul Wilson, Betty Glasow, Barrie Melrose
Busy Working Overtime - Post Production Crew; Pam Tomling & Roy Benson, Gorden Daniels & Jim Roddan
Listen to the Music Playing in your Head - George Martin on the Hard Day's Night songs
Such a clean Old Man! - Memories of Wilfred Brambell
I've Lost my little Girl - Isla Blair Interview
Taking Testimonial Pictures - Robert Freeman interview
Dealing with "The Men from the Press" - Tony Barrow Interview
Dressed to the Hilt - Gorden Millings Interview
They and I have Memories - Klaus Voorman Interview
Hitting the Big Time in the USA - Sid Berstein Interview
Where the movie excels is as a comedy... if music hadn't come so readily to them, they could well have passed for modern day (comparatively at least) Marx Brothers. Although the script is somewhat rough in places, it has a constant energy and vitality to it... much like the music of the Beatles themselves.
The soundtrack is pure gold quality... some of the finest Beatles songs ever penned acompany the Wacky Antics.
Well worth seeing even if you're only a casual Beatles fan... a jewel of a movie, and much better than their later 'Help' and 'Yellow Submarine' forays into the visual arts.
And of course, one musn't forget Paul's grandfather. He's a very clean old man.
Director Dick Lester had impressed before (Running, Jumping, Standing Still film) and lost his way after (Superman 3!!!)but this film was the peak of his career, his direction nothing short of perfection.
Highlights include the hotel room scenes, Ringo's lonely scenes, and even a concert at the end with fab songs. But for me the best parts are on the train with the Fab Four encountering and causing havoc!!! There's also plenty of songs all the way through to keep you satisfied such as 'If I Fell' and 'I Should Have Known Better'.
Abe Lincoln once said something like "A day without a laugh is a day lost". If that's true, then A Hard Day's Night adds an extra day to the year each time you watch it. For brilliant laughs and an all round great time, watch it. Then watch it again. Until you become addicted to its charm. Comedy at its best.
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