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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 26 July 2006
"A Hard Day's Night" is, and always will be, one of the greatest films ever made. Its irreverent, original comedy ("He's very clean") has never been matched. The Beatles let their natural charisma and wit carry them through and, in 1964, that would have been enough if they just stood still for 90 minutes. Director Dick Lester was the perfect choice: he understood what to do, providing the viewer with the feeling of suffocation that the Beatles had to endure due to their fans and the sheer relief that they feel as they burst out of the fire escape into a field where nobody knows they are ("We're out!").

The comic lines still hold out today, a rare feat for a forty year old film. Indeed, even the slapstick parts hold out thanks to the Beatles's knowing acting. Many critics have compared the Fab Four to the Marx Bros. Fair enough, but I bet Lennon would have loved to have been as sneering as Groucho in the film. Still, he carries off his role with aplomb, especially the parts when he does get to be a cheeky rascal (note his snorting the Coke bottle on the train) and the ad libs (if they are ad libs) are fantastic ("Alright Noddy?"). Ringo is as natural as critics made out: he belonged on screen, the only Fab that seemed to truly ignore the cameras. George, too, carries his laconic, cool style seeing the whole thing as a bit of a laugh ("Well, I'll have a bash"). Indeed, Macca is not actually as bad as people make out. He tries too hard but, when he lets go, is genuinely pretty good: "I'd ask you myself, only I'm shy".

Therefore, the film is brilliant. But the DVD is not, hence the four stars. The fact is, the extras look as if they have been made for a 60+ pensioner audience. Every single one is of somebody talking. There is the odd, rare, clip of the band but this same shot is used over and over in different interviews. The interviews themselves are tedious as hell, barring George Martin's dissection of the album. Why didn't they put the 1998 "Making Of" on: an absolutely brilliant insight into the film with the deleted "You Can't Do That" performance? Where was any sort of evidence of Macca's deleted scene? Why weren't Macca and Ringo, themselves, interviewed? Quite frankly, there were better extras on the VHS version, including rare interviews with the band. Even more insulting is the fact that they have removed the "I'll Cry Instead" collage, shown in cinemas before the film. This, too, was on the VHS. Also, why not ask Dick Lester to provide an audio commentary? I'm sure he has much to say on the film, his greatest work.

Buy it for the film which, to be fair, is brilliantly restored and sounds excellent and then weep over the inadequacies of the extras.
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Although the Beatles themselves expressed disappointment at the movie, it's not because of a lack of quality. The Beatles come across as somewhat unbelievable gagsters, but let's face it... it's not like you want to watch it for the dense characterisation.
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.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2003
The Beatles were very talented but they were lucky too. Lucky to find themselves a dedicated, honest manager. Lucky to find a sympathetic producer. And extraordinarily lucky to have their first feature film directed by Richard Lester; whose sense of humour was so closely aligned with the boys' that all they had to do - aided by Alun Owen's script - was act naturally.
A Hard Day's Night catches the Beatles just as international megafame is about to hit them. They're still very young, and while no longer the naive teenagers who first went to Hamburg to play in the strip clubs and bars of the Reeperbahn, they're not yet jaded. It's still fun - you can see it on their faces. Only a year or two later, and they were to give up touring altogether, tired and anxious.
Forty years on, and it seems like another era. It's difficult to watch this film now and see it afresh, but it was then - a blast of fresh air blowing away the stuffiness of 1950s British society. See it and marvel at the way we used to be.
This two-disc set is full of the usual extras - things you watch once and don't bother with again - but they're mostly relevant and interesting. The film itself is technically in pretty good shape with good contrast and clarity and only a few scratches, but I do have a couple of gripes. Firstly, I'm pretty sure that it was originally shot and shown in Academy ratio (4:3). This version has been cropped to 16:9 and the result is that, for example, the tops of heads tend to be cut off and the film has the kind of cramped feeling that you get in a room where the ceiling is too low. If this had to be done to satisfy a peceived market need for widescreen material couldn't we have been given the original 4:3 version on the other side of the disc?
Secondly, the sound for the musical numbers has been remixed into sort-of stereo and plays at a very much louder level than the dialogue. The concert scenes have had fake reverb plastered all over them to make them sound 'live'. The resulting change in soundscape from dialogue to music and back again is excessively jarring.
Still, these are only gripes; the film itself survives.
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on 11 June 2004
I am a 15 girl who has lately been feeling she has been born in the wrong era, and after watching this movie...i realised i was right.
Not only do i have the joys of hearing some classic beatles songs, but i also get to experience John Lennons dry sense of humour and George Harrisons gorgeous-ness to the max!
There are some classic cameo's in this film that even i can recognise, the only problem i have to console myself of, is that George met Patti Boyd while he was filming this (boo sucks!) But otherwise i would say its definatly one of the best films i have seen.
(watch out for John lennons hillarious antics in the bathtub!)
Kt XxX
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on 31 March 2002
This was it. A debut for the Beatles on the big screen. The result. Pure genius. Films don't get better than this with its original wit and humour its a delight from start to end. The fab four display a natural talent for the camera especially Starr who steals the show, but also Lennon who's many ad libs are all there to be witnessed.
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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on 31 August 2007
Richard Lester worked with the Beatles to produce a clever, touching, visually interesting, humourous and well-acted film that makes the most of the fantastic music and the Beatlemania and uses wonderful English character actors circa 1964 to bounce off the boys' Liverpudlian wit.

The film was obviously a showcase for the music and to introduce the boys' personalities. I like the extras: George Martin is such a great guy that you can't help but be entranced by anything he says, and I love seeing Brian Epstein footage because he was sneaky but extremely clever as a pop promoter.

A lovely, nostalgic ride back to when things seemed a touch simpler.
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In the Fifties and Sixties, pop music films were seen as throwaway things (low budget, throw a couple of 'real' actors in to carry the plot, have a love interest and film it quickly before your act goes out of favour) and, to be honest, not much has really changed over the years. Films starring pop groups, if made, are usually pretty awful. Unlike most things in their career though, the Beatles did things differently. Yes, they did have the low budget and their schedule was so hectic that six weeks probably seemed a lifetime and a couple of real 'actors' were brought in. The thing was, it was actually good. Dispensing with the love interest - apart from the Fabs trying to chat up a couple of girls on the train (one of whom George later married) and being chased by hoardes of girls, there was a notable lack of romantic interest. This was a comedy and it set the Fabs personalities in stone forever - John the cheeky one, Paul the romantic, George the laconic, quiet one and Ringo the lovable, grumpy one. Add a great script, full of funny one liners, the sympathetic Dick Lester, a good cast who didn't overshadow the Beatles and the fact that the group themselves were pretty good - plus fantastic songs - and you have something which has lasted and which even my children sat down and watched with me over Christmas (usually deriding black and white films as unwatchable). When I asked how they liked it, my seven year old daughter said, "I forgot it was black and white - I was watching the Beatles...." Well, yes, they did, and still do, have that affect - on screen, they are magnetic.

The film, for those who haven't seen it has a pretty loose plot. Almost a semi-documentary, the Beatles are seen going by train to a show. It reflects their life at that time, "so far I've seen a train and a car and a room and a car and a room and a room...", the general adult stuffiness around them, "I fought the war for your sort!" and the crazy press conferences and crowds, where fame made them prisoners and they famously break out to cavort in a field to the joyous accompanianment of "Can't Buy Me Love." Ringo is the best actor, by far, but the others all manage to carry their lines well enough and Dick Lester was careful never to give them too much to say, so it sounded more natural. Ringo wanders off in the film and then manages to get arrested, necessitating being rescued by the others before the "show can go on." This is a joyous and fun film, when success had finally arrived and all was well with the Beatles world.

Although others reviewing here didn't much like the extras, I personally thought they were great (although I agree strongly that it would have been nice to have had, "The Making of..."). Still, there are loads of interviews included on the second disc, by just about everyone who worked on the film: George Martin, Dick Lester, Denis O'Dell, studio executives, members of the cast (John Junkin, Lionel Blair, Kenneth Haigh, David Jaxon, Anna Quayle, Jeremy Lloyd, Terry Hooper), members of the production crew, the post-production crew, actress Isla Blair on a scene she filmed which was cut, photographer Robert Freeman, Tony Barrow, friend Klaus Voormann, Sid Bernstein and many others. Personally, I really enjoyed the many memories and stories from those involved, almost as much as I enjoyed re-watching the film. Overall, this is a good package and I am sure people will be watching it in another fifty years.
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on 3 October 2006
A Hard Days Night is a film starring the beatles as the beatles and directed by richard lester and was released in 1964 at the height of beatlemania,the film has a mockumentary feel to it and is indeed scripted,but the film also has a real feel to it as this was a mirror image of what it would have been like to have been a beatle.

The film also contains some great songs that featured on the album a hard days night,the film is very lighthearted in style but still you get the feeling that the band were prisoners of their own fame,they were thrown around by management between interview after interview,tour after tour and chased by fans who could have killed them with kindness,the opening scene where the band are chased is of course scripted but hardly far from reality,and when george falls and the remaining members are in stitches,that is truly a classic scene and is actually an accident.

The film was shot in 16 weeks as the studio thought that beatlemania wouldnt last beyone 1964,what a bunch of melons they are for thinking that and shot in black and white to contain the budget.

The film has a plot but nothing startling but the film is funny and each member reveals himself to be funny,odd and eccentric in their own way.If you say that the beatles are your band then you need this,my sister aint a fan as such but she love this film,its soundtrack and kooky charm.
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on 21 November 2013
After waiting 2 weeks I wondered if this product was comming from abroad and with the Thai postcode and Chinese speaking Beatle we were right. I shall be returning this as an avid Beatle fan it just was more a joke present with poor packaging and beatles unable to speak English .....
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 January 2015
Probably thge best movie the Beatles did.

Well written and acted the black and white filming really gives a nice feel.

Can't fault the music.

Shows the Beatles at their laconic best.
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