A Hard Day's Night

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Overview

During the first worldwide flush of Beatlemania in 1964, United Artists wanted to ship out a movie with The Beatles before their vogue was over. Working within a tight $500,000 budget, director Richard Lester turned out A Hard Day's Night in a fast 6 1/2 weeks; the picture was in the theatres three months after shooting commenced. Using a variety of techniques cribbed from Hollywood slapstick comedies, the French "new wave" movement, and his own experiences as a TV-commercial director, Lester, with screenwriter ...
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Overview

During the first worldwide flush of Beatlemania in 1964, United Artists wanted to ship out a movie with The Beatles before their vogue was over. Working within a tight $500,000 budget, director Richard Lester turned out A Hard Day's Night in a fast 6 1/2 weeks; the picture was in the theatres three months after shooting commenced. Using a variety of techniques cribbed from Hollywood slapstick comedies, the French "new wave" movement, and his own experiences as a TV-commercial director, Lester, with screenwriter Alun Owen, fashioned an exhilarating study of a "typical" 36 hours in the lives of the Fab Four. Onto a plot about getting to the Big Show on time are hung a series of instant-reaction gags, character vignettes, and musical setpieces. Much of the humor arises from Paul McCartney's efforts to keep his grandfather Wilfred Brambell, a "clean old man," from getting into mischief. Also good for several laughs is the hookey-playing Ringo Starr, whose mistimed declaration of independence lands him in jail. We are also treated to a war of nerves between the unflappable John Lennon and an uptight TV director Victor Spinelli, who worries that, should the Beatles not show up at broadcast time, he'll be demoted to "News In Welsh." George Harrison stars in a sequence in which he is mistaken for an auditionee by the producer Kenneth Haigh of a superficially trendy, teen-oriented TV weekly. Then there's Norman Rossington and John Junkin as The Beatles' managers, who carry on a battle royale simply because one man is taller than the other. The supporting cast includes comedienne Anna Quayle, cartoonist Bob Godfrey, TV host Robin Ray, dancer Lionel Blair, Harrison's future wife Patti Boyd, and director Lester himself. The songs include "I Should Have Known Better," "And I Love Her," "Tell Me Why," "If I Fell," "Can't Buy Me Love," and the title song.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Very little needs to be said about this trend-setting 1964 classic: Simply put, A Hard Day's Night is the finest rock 'n' roll comedy ever made. It hit America shortly after the Beatles themselves did, and with the Fab Four as popular as they were, Stateside audiences would've been happy just to see and hear John, Paul, George, and Ringo perform such hit songs as "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," "And I Love Her," and the title tune. But director Richard Lester A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, working from a script by Alun Owen, further delighted moviegoers with his wonderfully offbeat, visually inventive chronicle of a 36-hour period in the group's hectic life. He made no attempt to turn the Beatles into actors but encouraged them to give free rein to their naturally zany impulses; the result was a wacky, fast-paced romp with a carefully cultivated air of spontaneity and hokey sight gags reminiscent of silent-era comedies. Initially designed to capitalize on the group's burgeoning popularity, A Hard Day's Night was, as expected, wildly successful -- but it proved to be surprisingly influential as well, inspiring Britain's Monty Python troupe, American "mockumentaries" such as This Is Spinal Tap, and even Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan! Happily, A Hard Day's Night remains just as vital as it was in 1964, reminding us again how very special the boys from Liverpool really were.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
It's a blessing to Beatles fans that someone had the foresight to capture them on film in the midst of the first flash of Beatlemania. Was A Hard Day's Night an accurate picture of 36 hours in the life of the Fab Four? Probably not, though one can only hope for their sake that it was this much fun. The dry, cheeky wit of Alun Owen's screenplay may have been a bit tart for teens, but it's still smart and funny, and if the Beatles weren't all great actors (John Lennon and Ringo Starr come off well, but George Harrison often reveals why he was a guitar player and not a thespian), Owen cleverly allowed them to play to their strengths: John's charming snideness, Ringo's loveable sad-sack persona, Paul McCartney's cute cool guy routine, and George's quiet, no-nonsense attitude. The supporting cast blends in perfectly (no small feat with four strong personalities in the lead), and Richard Lester's sharp, inventive visual style was the perfect match for The Beatles' music: fresh, smart without being pretentious, brash in just the right ways, and an awful lot of fun. A Hard Day's Night has aged as well as the Beatles' music from the same period: timeless yet inescapably a product of its era.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2002
  • UPC: 786936148398
  • Original Release: 1964
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Lennon John Lennon
Paul McCartney Paul McCartney
George Harrison George Harrison
Ringo Starr Ringo Starr
Wilfrid Brambell Paul's Grandfather
Norman Rossington Norm
Victor Spinetti Television Director
John Junkin Shake
Anna Quayle Millie
Richard Vernon Man on Train
Deryck Guyler Police Inspector
Bridget Armstrong
Roger Avon
The Beatles
Lionel Blair TV Choreographer
John Bluthal
Rosemarie Frankland
Kenneth Haigh Simon Marshall
Claire Kelly Barmaid
David Langton Actor
Jane Lumb
Eddie Malin Hotel waiter
Derek Nimmo
Margaret Nolan
Robin Ray TV Floor Manager
Alison Seebohm Secretary
Marianne Stone Society reporter
Michael Trubshawe Casino manager
Technical Credits
Richard Lester Director
Derek V. Browne Camera Operator
Julie Harris Costumes/Costume Designer
George Harrison Score Composer
John Jympson Editor
John Lennon Score Composer
George Martin Musical Direction/Supervision
Paul McCartney Score Composer
John D. Merriman Asst. Director
Denis O'Dell Producer
John O'Gorman Makeup
Alun Owen Screenwriter
Walter Shenson Producer
Ray Simm Art Director
Dougie Millings and Son Costumes/Costume Designer
Gilbert Taylor Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

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(5)

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2014

    Fifty years ago, after the Beatles arrived in America and made t

    Fifty years ago, after the Beatles arrived in America and made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles made their motion picture debut called A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first motion picture, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, Criterion Collection has just re-released, restored, and remastered this timeless classic movie for better, clearer, sharper, and louder picture and sound quality. I remember when I was three years old when my parents took me and my baby sister to the old Drive-In theatre. It was the first movie that I saw and I will always remember this forever. Although I had seen the movie many times on DVD (the 2002 version), VHS, and TV, I hope that I will be able to see it again on the big screen when it re-released on July 4th. When I heard that Criterion Collection is going to re-released A HARD DAY'S NIGHT on June 24, that is great news because it's my birthday. What a way to celebrate my birthday than to have it buy it on the date. This is my birthday present ever. I love the Beatles. YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    A Classic! Lost my copy to Sandy, but will replace soon. FYI - c

    A Classic! Lost my copy to Sandy, but will replace soon.
    FYI - comments about it being slowed down. It is - because English cinematography shoots at 25fps, no doubt (as this is not a PAL disc) the transfer was at 24FPS, hence the slowdown (baby now you're movin' way too fast)

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    WHAT A GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    This is the black and white classic starring the Beatles. I have personally seen this movie over 100 times and still can come back for more. This is a great early look into a typical madcap day in the life of the Beatles. Although it is a fictional story, it is based on the mayhem and hysteria that surrounded their lives at the time. The songs of course, are incredible and the Beatles turned out to be very good actors, or perhaps, they were just naturals. Their off beat British humor works well along with the other actors such as Vincent Spinetti as the TV director, Wilfrid Brambell as Paul's Grandfather and Norman Rossington as their manager. The wit of John Lennon is evident in the scenes with manager Norm, Ringo showcases his acting abilities in his solo scene wandering and parading the streets until he is arrested, Paul shows his talents trying to keep an eye on his "very clean" granddad, and George shows his charm when he is mistakenly taken for a teenager and is interviewed about the upcoming teen idol "Susan". The visuals in the movie are also incredible especially for the time this was shot. Camera angles during the filming of the TV specials are great with overlays of songs and closeups making the movie so interesting. This movie can be enjoyed by Beatles' fans young and old. This would be an excellent introduction to the group for a youngster who might not have yet been exposed to Beatles music (if someone like that does exist), or for a young fan just getting into the early sounds of the great band. If you saw this movie years ago and have not seen it since, now is the time to relive the great memories and see it again. This is an excellent movie!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Beatles "A Hard Day's Night"

    This is a must-see for any Beatle fan. The plot line is funny and the movie is just a fun-loving take on the everyday lives of the fab four. You'll be set for a wild ride of screaming fans, live performances, great music, and keeping up with Paul's mischievous grandfather. Filled with clever, quick-witted comedy, this Beatles movie is sure to be a pleaser.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Fun Romp!

    Okay ... not the greatest movie ever made, but it's long on originality and its pure entertainment value - certainly one of the forerunners of MTV in its portrayal of the musical numbers. But I'm a Beatles fan from that era and, far as I'm concerned, the lads from Liverpool could do no wrong then ... or now. If you're of another (later) generation, however, don't pass on this opportunity to see and hear the group, music, and film style that helped define my generation. The extras on Disc 2 contained few surprises (for me), but for the less informed (re: the film and Beatlemania in general), they provide additional history and are certainly worth the time to watch.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    EPIC

    The Most incredible thing you will ever buy. It is a necessity for all those who even think they might lik the Beatles

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    IT'S THE B E A T L E S !!!

    I had forgotten how wonderful this film is. A true masterpiece in the simplist form. It is in black and white, which adds quite a bit to this lovely english story about "The Lads", and how they handle fame. I wish all of the younger stars and starlettes would use this as a guide .. Would love to see the "rappers" and their entourages learn a bit from JOHN ,Sir Paul, George and Ringo.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best Beatles Movie

    I love this movie!! The early years of Beatlemania with the fans chasing the lads says it all from the beginning. The plot story featuring their adventures along with Paul's grandfather is hilarious. Poor Ringo gets picked on alot but I was really impressed with their acting..especially Ringo's. My favorite scene was John serenading Ringo with If I Fell. Other standouts for me was George being mistaken for some sort of a model and giving his opinion about Susan, Ringo being called a teacher's pet, John in the bathtub, Ringo getting into trouble just trying to take pictures, the chase sequence and Paul's grandfather showing up on stage at the end. All in all, a very good must see movie to have in your collection!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Love This Movie!

    It is so wonderful to see the lads from Liverpool young and cheeky. They started a change in the world that is still evident today. They are young, witty, and charismatic in their first film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Clean though, idn't he?

    Every line in this classic film is so witty and humorous that the script should appear in Bartlett's. &quot She nitted him&quot &quot that's not ya grandfather I've seen ya grandfather he lives in your house&quot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I LOVE THE BEATLES

    The performances, the script, the direction, the innovation and finally the music. Whether you were there for the original, or just discovering this gem for the first time be prepared to smile and be thoroughly entertained.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Better with age

    I first saw this film on TV back around 1965. Now some 40 years later, it is even better. And the extras make watching it more enjoyable. The "Steptoe & Son" clips of Wilfrid Brambell and the dirty/clean bit that weaves its way trhough the film are hilarious. The song quality is not CD quality, but this was filmed on a shoestring and it captured the essence of Beatles performances of the day with the screaming fans. Originally, this was to be the first of 3 UA productions starring the Beatles, but only "HELP!" followed as the boys were ending their road tours in favor of studio production only. This is well worth the purchase for any Beatle fan or fan to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mods and Rockers

    Has fame ever been cheaper than it is right now? In our "people"-addicted culture, the line between real stardom and Paris Hilton stardom grows thinner every day. Yet fame is (or should be) more than just a matter of Being Famous. The public has a powerful need to believe that the famous have earned their place in the heavens and that stars are born because they were meant to be stars, just as we were meant to bask in their light and share in their glamour and then to thank God we don't have to pay the price. However, the trouble with being a fan is that we often want to be the thing we love. Then again, sometimes we want to kill it. "A Hard Day's Night" captured Beatlemania as it was happening, and more than four decades later, it remains a peerlessly zesty rock 'n' roll fable. Director Richard Lester's jump cuts now seem exhilarating as Jean-Luc Godard's, John Lennon's wisecracks as well timed as Groucho Marx's. Yet this original Fab Four movie is innocent in a way no other later rock 'n' roll film could be, and much of the credit must go to the thousands of screaming teenage girls in the audience--the ones who's lips form such magical words as "John!" and "Paul!" and "George!" and "Ringo!" while tears stream down their cheeks. When Lennon and McCartney shake their mop tops in unison after the line "She loves you, and you know you should be glad!" it sends the audience into hyperspace. Watching these Liverpool Lads get their first taste of audience frenzy, you understand why the '60s had to happen. [filmfactsman]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ''You don't see many of these now a days, do ya?''

    I just recently bought this film because I'm a highly devoted Beatles fan and had never seen it before (shame). After reading some of the comments on it, I was a little scared to buy it. But let me just say that it was worth every penny. This film is so funny. What I like about it is that although most may argue that it's a poor ''movie'' I think it shows excellent insight into the Beatles and their real life relationships with eachother. It's a classic musical/music-video. And the sound quality is excellent. I had no problems with it what-so-ever, even when I ran it on my laptop. I do agree that the special features could have included more, and maybe deleted some, but overall that should not stop you from buying this film. It's become one of my favorites!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Like taking a happy pill

    The performances, the script, the direction, the innovation and finally-the music. Whether you were there for the original, or just discovering this gem for the first time-be prepared to smile and be thoroughly entertained. Thank you John, Paul, George and Ringo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Funny classic

    I have loved the Beatles as long as I can remember. Although it doesn't have a central plot, ''A Hard Day's Night'' is a wonderful look inside the hysteria of Beatlemania. All four members are great, and have great comedic ability.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fab movie for all ages

    Very funny, but no strong plot. Still, a great classic that all can enjoy, Beatles fans and non-fans. Oh, by the way, includes a clean old man whom loves to go parading. ''Hey Mister, can we have our ball back?''

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Miramax Version Lacking

    Is it just me, or did Miramax crop the top of this film off? If I didn't know any better, (and I don't), I'd say - in an effort to give this film a more wide-screen 'theatrical' look, the top & bottom of what should be essentially a full-frame movie, has been lopped off. It's downright annoying to see the tops of people's heads constantly banging up *into*, and often *beyond* the upper black bar. (See for yourself!) It's unnatural and shows a lack of forethought by whoever framed this dvd release. The audio is terrible. The songs, although separated from the main optical film soundtrack, -- and hence much improved --, are still 'quasi-mono-stereo' -- something you might expect from a Walmart ''stereo enhanced'' boombox. The sound is swishy, shifting, weak, lacking in dynamics, and obviously monaural. Further, the music sounds as if it was recorded in a tunnel. Far, *far* better renditions of these songs are available - In sharp contrast, Miramax should take a hard look at the *magnificent* audio remastering done on the Beatles 'Yellow Submarine'' dvd release - the sheer audio quality of the songs on that disc transcend even my wildest expectations, and make the music cd versions weak, washed out and obsolete in comparison. To their credit, Miramax gave this b&w film footage a crisp, clear transfer. However, with all the extras they included (Sir George Martin's modern contributions to this 2-disc set are *phenomenal*; likely worth the price of the set in itself - what a down-to-earth gentleman he is!), you'd think they'd have found space for the original theatrical trailer. (I don't see it anywhere). Outside of the Beatles themselves, the best thing about this package is George Martin; the worst thing is the awful picture cropping. -- A_Klingon --

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    excellent

    this isa well done revamp of older material, a difficult project. The commenter who complained about the music being to slow should find a hobby- I haven't noticed any such problems

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Slowed Down Music

    The movie is great, however there is a problem with the music. The songs ''I should have known better'', ''If I Fell'', ''And I Love Her'', ''I'm Happy just to dance with you'' sound too slow. It's almost as if the tempo of the songs were slowed down to match the video. I checked a different DVD, TV, Stereo, DVD player...everything still sounds like garbage. The way to check is to play the CD with the songs, then play the songs off the DVD. That is when it really stands out. I contacted Miramax and they said they have never heard of this complaint from anyone else. Check for yourself.

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