A Hard Day's Night
1964, NR, 85 min. Directed by Richard Lester. Starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Branbell.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Thu., Dec. 21, 2000
They can restore film negatives and they can digitally restore the soundtracks – which is what has been done in the case of this 1964 pop relic. Too bad no one's figured out how to restore the Beatles themselves. A Hard Day's Night is the kind of timeless artifact that, decades after its making, still hits the senses like a burst of fresh air. This first Beatles movie turned the British Invasion into a virtual stampede. Where a pop star like Elvis churned out silly movies with phony plots, props, and pretense, the Beatles came along and made a movie in which they played simply hyperbolic versions of themselves and their lives of newfound celebrity. The movie is frenetic: Its fast cuts, comic antics, and surreal interludes are masterfully conducted by director Richard Lester and screenwriter Alun Owen. Indeed, the music video can be said to have been born several decades back on "a hard day's night." Still, throughout the loose-jointed narrative, the Beatles are just playing the Beatles – four moptop lads just trying to escape their crazed fans and find a few moments of peace and quiet. Tunes in the movie include "Can't Buy Me Love," "And I Love Her," "I Should Have Known Better," and "A Hard Day's Night."