By: Emily Kellas
Rating: 9 out of 10
Although most notably known for their world shaking music, The Beatles also made a shockingly successful venture into the realm of Hollywood film. Released in 1964 their first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night was and has become an innovative musical masterpiece that laid the groundwork for many technological and stylistic changes in the movie business. With Director Richard Lester, writer Alun Owen, and the four boys from Liverpool, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, they were able to create a surprisingly funny film that isn’t void of some of their most relevant social messages.
A Hard Day’s Night follows Paul, John, George, and Ringo in a “mock documentary” style through, essentially, a day in their life. The band is scheduled to play a show live on Great Britain television, and getting them all there and ready proves to be a bit of a challenge. Their free spiritedness and pure innocence gives ample opportunity for some obviously needed musical sequences, and some quirky deviance.
The film feels strangely modern, despite its black and white motif, due to camera work, and editing that can be found in our present day music videos. The use of handheld camera’s and quick editing makes this film one of the earliest in the “mock-documentary” genre, and provides a foundation for the way musical moments are shot today.
The element that really makes this film fantastic is, of course, the music. It holds some of The Beatles earliest hits such as the film’s title song, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “If I Fell,” and many more. Whether they are singing on stage, on a train, or simply frolicking in a field the music is what breathes youthful life into the film.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect to A Hard Day’s Night is the performances of the band members. Though none were particularly known for their stellar acting chops each member was able to have their own personality shine through. From melancholy Starr, to outrageous and cheeky Lennon they play themselves well.
For the music and movie lover, A Hard Day’s Night is a must see. Its short and sweet while packed to the brim with hilarious moments, musical genius, and visually stunning sequences. Though you may have to work through some rather thick British accents, it’s worth it for what you gain in a meaningful movie experience. And as you walk away after viewing the film, it will have you singing “You know I feel alright…”