It’s been ‘a hard day’s night’ — for sixty years!

Film · Music
working like a dog: paul, john, george & ringo

What’s amusing about that funny-yet-familiar song title, “A Hard Day’s Night,” is its disingenuity. When the song hit Planet Earth with a sonic boom, the four moptop Beatles, John, Paul, George, and Ringo, delivered their “woooo”s as though they’ve never had a hard day’s anything in their lives.

And talk about “hummable.” A full encyclopedia of Beatles tunes and lyrics were imprinted in my prepubescent brain at the rollout of their magnificent canon in real time. This song among scores of others.

band on the run, the beatles, ‘a hard day’s night (1964)’

But this one formed the kernel of a movie — which, as we know, is an entirely different matter. This honey of a Beatles movie will get full appreciation in sixtieth-anniversary screening of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964), starring the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania. Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the rock ‘n’ roll movie classic directed by Richard Lester from an Oscar-nominated original screenplay by Alun Owen, the milestone film was also nominated for musical scoring.

A Hard Day’s Night, portrays 36 hours in the life of the band as it prepares for a televised variety show concert. Directing it, Lester utilizes several techniques in a semi-documentary style, reinforced by Gilbert Taylor’s black-and-white cinematography, all on dazzling display in the high energy musical comedy.

Lester’s approach was fully embraced by film critic Andrew Sarris, who wrote in the Village Voice, “A Hard Day’s Night (is)… the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals, the brilliant crystallization of such diverse cultural particles as pop music, rock ‘n’ roll, cinema-verite, the nouvelle vague, free cinema, and studied spontaneity.” Well that’s a pull-quote never to be replicated!

The film was highly influential, spawning numerous imitators including the pop group the Monkees‘ television series later in the decade, and the advent of music videos in the 1980s. Lester went onto a long career, helming the second Beatles’ film Help, The Knack, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Petulia, and The Three (and Four) Musketeers among others. A Hard Day’s Night showcases the Beatles’ dynamic music early in their careers, and, their madcap humor and behavior as London ruled global Sixties roost, for global export.

Steve Farber’s guest, Domenic Priore is an author, pop music historian, and pop culture commentator. He has contributed to several books and is the co-author of “Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood.” Importantly, Dom Priore is a F.O.A.M. (Friend of Arts Meme).

text courtesy of laemmle anniversary classics via artsmeme

A Hard Day’s Night | Royal Theatre in its centennial year | June 25, 7:30 pm

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