I saw A Hard Day’s Night in the early autumn of 1964 at the King Cinema on the corner of Elm and Bridge Streets in Manchester, NH. This was back in the day when you could stay in the theatre and watch the film a second time, which we did. I can’t remember who I saw it with, all though I think it was my sister. Girls were screaming on screen and in the theatre – I don’t think I screamed, but I can’t be certain.
From it’s opening sequence of the Beatles being chased by a crowd of a screaming girls to the final TV appearance this is a rollicking rock’n roll film. The idea is simple – a day in the life of the Beatles. In 1964 the Beatles were working around the clock, shuttling between concerts, radio and television appearances. The film, directed by Richard Lester and written by fellow Liverpudlian Alan Owen, lovingly captures the crazy lives of the Beatles at that moment in time. The film depicts Beatlemania at it’s height in Great Britain and gives a delightful taste of then emerging swinging London. Each of the Beatles appears as an individual – John as the leader with his acerbic sense of humor, Paul responsible, taking care of Grandfather, George as the quiet thoughtful one, and Ringo as the under appreciated one. The boys are so natural in their roles that their lines appear to be made up as the went along, which is not the case. “A Hard Day;s Night” truly captures the Beatles’ charisma on film.
Shot in six weeks with post production taking another three, the film was rushed released by United Artists who feared that the Fab Four might prove to be the Fad Four. The film is now a classic musical comedy that served as the blueprint for the Monkees TV show and for pop videos that followed. The iconic moment where the Beatle’s get free by ducking out of the TV studio and down the fire escape to “Can’t Buy Me Love” symbolized the escape from conformity the sixties would embody.