A Hard Day's Night
Runtime: 1 hr 27 min
MPAA Rating: G
Director: Richard Lester
Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin
The reason to see A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is as the best music video ever.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
Watching A HARD DAY'S NIGHT from 1964, now in re-release in the theaters with a newly restored print and sound, is rather like watching an old newsreel. Were we really like that? Did 60s rock really ever have that child-like innocence as embodied in the four lads from Liverpool?
Of course, the answers are: we were, and it did. But gosh, it now seems more like a million years ago rather than just a little over a third of a century.
The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr), undoubtedly the best rock group ever, had a popularity then that hasn't been rivaled since. The movie, done in a mock day-in-the-life documentary style, shows pre-teen and teenage girls swooning and screaming with such intensity that they make themselves sick. In real-life many such fans passed out and had to be carried out on stretchers. The movie, while minimizing the Beatle hype, concentrates on the sheer joy of their music. Whenever they are singing in the movie, which is often, the picture soars. The producers had the now radical idea of actually including entire songs, not just choppy excerpts, in the film. Too bad that this technique has long since vanished.
Less successful than the musical numbers are the silly little non-musical episodes including ones of the boys hamming it up together. A major subplot concerns Paul's freeloading, obstreperous grandfather, played by Wilfrid Brambell with beady eyes, round glasses and a long, thin face. Put a pair of antlers on him, and he'd be a dead ringer for Bullwinkle. Besides trading off of the family name, the grandfather tries to cash in on the boy's fame by selling photos of them with forged signatures.
Even though these four working-class blokes charm us with their natural playfulness, the reason to see A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is as the best music video ever. Sit back and soak up the songs. Don't even try to keep a smile off of your face and a song out of your heart while watching the film. It's just not possible.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT runs just 1:27. The film is in a handsome black and white, which enhances its documentary feel. It is rated G and would be acceptable for all ages.
My son Jeffrey, age 11, who is 'N Sync kind of guy, thought the movie was pretty good, giving it ** 1/2. He liked the songs the best and thought the other parts of the movie were dumb but sometimes funny.