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A Hard Day's Night (movie)

From Academic Kids

The film A Hard Day's Night (1964) is a mockumentary written by Alun Owen and starring The Beatles during the height of Beatlemania. The director was Richard Lester, the producer Walter Shenson and the director of photography Gilbert Taylor. In addition to the Beatles, cast members included Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Lionel Blair and Derek Nimmo. The soundtrack album A Hard Day's Night was the Beatles' third. The film premiered on July 6, 1964.

The film was shot for United Artists using a cinéma vérité style in black and white and produced over a period of 16 weeks in the spring of 1964. Black and white was chosen for its lower cost, and the short timescale was because the studio were convinced that Beatlemania would not last beyond the summer of '64. The film also used the innovative technique of cutting the images to the beat of the music, and because of this many see the film as playing a major role in development of modern music videos, especially the "Can't Buy Me Love" segment, which featured creative camera work, and the band running and jumping around in a field.

The film chronicles in a mock documentary-style the Beatles arriving at a theatre, rehearsing, and finally performing in a television special. Owen spent several days with the group, who told him their lives were like "a room and a car and a room and a car and a room and car". He realized that by 1964 the Beatles were prisoners of their own fame, and that their schedule of performances and studio work by that time was extremely punishing, and wrote that into the script. As such the film is one of the best depictions of Beatlemania. In various places, the Beatles comment cheekily on their own fame: for instance, at one point a fan takes John Lennon for John Lennon; he demurs, saying that his face isn't quite right. The fan eventually agrees.

New York Times film critic Bosely Crowther noted that the film is also a subtle satire on the image of rock-and-roll music (and the Beatles in particular) as a source of youth rebellion and defiance of authority. In the film, the Beatles are portrayed as likeable young lads who are constantly amazed at the attention they receive and who want nothing more than run around and have a good time; however, they have to deal with screaming crowds, idiot journalists who ask nonsense questions, and authority figures who constantly look down upon them. The biggest troublemaker in the film is an elderly senior citizen, Paul McCartney's "clean" grandfather (played by Wilfrid Brambell).

The film's director, Richard Lester, also directed the Beatles' next film, Help!. He went on to direct several popular motion pictures of the 1970s and 1980s, including The Three Musketeers and Superman II.

Two extras in this film would become famous in their own right. Phil Collins was an extra in the concert sequence and later became the drummer in the group Genesis. Pattie Boyd later married both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.

In 2004 the magazine Total Film named A Hard Day's Night the 42nd greatest British film of all time.

Title inspired by Ringo-ism

The movie's strange title originated from something said by Ringo Starr, the Beatles' drummer. Starr described it this way in an interview with disc jockey Dave Hull in 1964: "We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day...' and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '...night!' So we came to 'A Hard Day's Night.'"

According to Lennon in a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine: "I was going home in the car and Dick Lester [director of the movie] suggested the title, 'Hard Day's Night' from something Ringo had said. I had used it in 'In His Own Write' [a book Lennon was writing then], but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo. You know, one of those malapropisms. A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny... just said it. So Dick Lester said, 'We are going to use that title.'"

In a 1994 interview for The Beatles Anthology, however, McCartney disagreed with Lennon's recollections, basically stating that it was the Beatles and not Lester, who had come up with the idea of using Starr's verbal misstep: "The title was Ringo's. We'd almost finished making the film, and this fun bit arrived that we'd not known about before, which was naming the film. So we were sitting around at Twickenham studios having a little brain-storming session... and we said, 'Well, there was something Ringo said the other day.' Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical... they were sort of magic even though he was just getting it wrong. And he said after a concert, 'Phew, it's been a hard day's night.'"

In 1996, yet another version of events cropped up — in an Associated Press report, the producer of the movie A Hard Day's Night, Walter Shenson, stated that Lennon described to Shenson some of Starr's funnier gaffes, including "a hard day's night," whereupon Shenson immediately decided that that was going to be the title of the movie (the originally planned title was Beatlemania). Shenson then told Lennon that he needed a theme song for the film. That song, also titled "A Hard Day's Night", became a huge hit.

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