|Dutch Blu-ray edition of A Hard Day's Night with 4,5 hours worth of bonus material|
You never will hear me answer the historical question if The Beatles are the best band of all time or not. Who can anyway? Fact is that you’ll never find one band about whom so much has been written. There are books penned down about every phrase or musical note that is made by the Fab Four. Some even made Beatlemania a science, and it probably is. If you’re fan or not, you absolutely have to agree that the four lads from Liverpool were always first. That’s one of the reasons why A Hard Day’s Night is considered as revolutionary. Without really wanting it, director Richard Lester who previously worked with Peter Sellers became the inventor of today’s video clip. That is also why the movie was made for: getting fans to the theatre and hoping that afterwards they run to the record shop to buy the album. It’s a trick producers from across the Atlantic Ocean already did with Elvis Presley, but there’s a huge difference between them.
When the film saw its premiere on 6th July 1941 the band stood at the verge to conquer the whole world. At that moment the four lads had two albums out. Their manager Brian Epstein thought it’d be a good idea if their third album would contain only selfwritten tunes. It was of course important that the world could hear them. Nothing better than present them in a movie and so the band were put in touch with Richard Lester. A success as the movie gained two Oscar-nominations and one for a Grammy too. It looked like the filmmaker was pleased too as a year later, he teamed up with them for Help!
The story itself isn’t important and rather silly. But so what? The four guys just played themselves. We follow Paul, John, George and Ringo from Liverpool to London. On their journey they meet Paul’s (fictional) grandpa (Wilfrid Brambell) who causes chaos. The four are awaited in a television studio, but they are involved in so many adventures that it seems like they will miss their goal.
The funniest thing about the movie is that The Beatles never take themselves seriously. Something you can’t say from Elvis whose rock musicals are at times quite silly. No, those guys from Liverpool are just the lads who they really are: four youngsters who still can’t understand that British teenage girls faint when they see their faces. You really can’t say that the four pop stars can act, but they’re born to parade in front of a camera. The funniest of them all is, strangely enough, drummer Ringo Starr. The producers were so smart to make this production black and white that gives it a more authentic look. The movie also has influenced many others. Not only is the movie seen as the birth of the modern video clip, but it was also the great example for what later would be known as Monty Phyton.
And of course you have the songs. First of all there’s the legendary title sing that’s been written in one night, but you can also hear classics like Can’t Buy Me Love, And I Love Her , I Should Have Known Better and If I Fell.
|DVD edition has 2 hours worth of bonus material|
There are lots of extra’s included on here with a total length from about four hours! First of all there is You Can’t Do That: a sort of making of-documentary that is presented by Phil Collins. The frontman from Genesis has all the right to do this as he was as a young boy one of the figurants of A Hard Day’s Night!
In Things They Said Today you can see some conversations with director Richard Lester, producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen and filmmaker Gilbert Taylor. Anatomy Of Style is about the methods Richard Lester is using: a typical British director who had lots of Hollywoodfame during the 70’s with Superman.
Fifty years after its release, A Hard Day’s Night still has a fresh cinematographic look. It’s certainly not a coincidence that the legendary critic Roger Ebert put him in the list from best rock movies ever.
A Hard Day’s Night is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
Didier BECU, Peek-a-Boo