Entertainment Weekly - 10/20/1995
"...[A] rapid-fire screenplay and the...Beatles' charismatic acting....Irresistible..." -- Rating: A+
Total Film - 05/01/2001
"...As a vehicle for the mop-tops' schoolboy humour and all-smiles-and-screams gig, it's infectious stuff..."
Hollywood Reporter - 12/01/2000
"...The film is mad, mad and crazy....Imaginative..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/01/2000
"...A HARD DAY'S NIGHT creates pure, infectious joy. Larking about is what these Beatles do best, pleasure is what they convey..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/27/1996
"...It was smart, it was irreverent, it didn't take itself seriously, and it was shot and edited by Richard Lester in an electrifying back-and-white, semi-documentary style..."
USA Today - 09/27/2002
Rolling Stone - 11/27/2003
"...Fabness itself....They look prettier than Audrey Hepburn, talk funnier than the Marx Brothers and strut sassier than Brando..."
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT presents a fictionalized day in the life of the Beatles as they give a performance on a live television show. Filmed just a month after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, this film--the Beatles' first--introduces us to the unique personalities of each member of the band. The film opens with the Fab Four boarding a train mobbed with adoring young fans (mostly women) as they attempt to travel to the television studio in London. The antics of the band during rehearsals and makeup application provide a large part of the comic material in this feature, though there are other moments of pure hilarity. The unscripted vignette featuring a hangover-suffering Ringo is especially funny, particularly when he is arrested and risks having to miss the broadcast. None of this goes unnoticed by the director of the show, played by Victor Spinetti, who went on to become a recurring cast member in Beatles movies. As the clock ticks away dramatically, our heroes manage to free Ringo from jail and sneak onto the stage in the nick of time, delighted in the knowledge that they have nearly driven the director mad in the process. Arguably the first music video ever made, this faux documentary and its shooting style have been a tremendous influence on nearly every rock and roll feature since.
2."Things They Said Today ..." (36:18)
3."Their Production Will Be Second To None" - Interviews With The Filmmakers (Director Richard Lester, Musical Director Sir George Martin, Associate Producer Denis O'Dell, Studio Executive David Picker)
4."With The Beatles" - Cast (John Junkin, Lionel Blair, Kenneth Haigh, David Janson, Anna Quayle, Jeremy Lloyd, Terry Hooper)
5."Working Like A Dog" - The Production Crew (Gilbert Taylor Bsc, Paul Wilson, Betty Glasow, Barrie Melrose)
6."Busy Working Overtime" - Post Production Crew (Pam Tomling & Roy Benson, Gordon Daniels & Jim Roddan)
7."Listen To The Music Playing In Your Head" - Sir George Martin On The Hdn Songs
8."Such A Clean Old Man!" - Memories of Wilfrid Brambell
9."I've Lost My Little Girl" - Isla Blair Interview
10."Taking Testimonial Pictures" - Robert Freeman Interview
11."Dressed To The Hilt" - Gordon Millings Interview
12."Dealing With 'The Men From The Press'" - Tony Barrow Interview
13."They and I Have Memories" - Klaus Voorman Interview
14."Hitting The Big Time In The USA" - Sid Bernstein Interview
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Essential Cinema |
Live Performances |
Music Video |
Rock And Roll |
Television Shows |
Theatrical release: July 6, 1964.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was filmed and produced in only 7 weeks, at a budget of 180,000 pounds, or $500,000.
The opening scene, where the Beatles are mobbed by fans while getting onto a train, is actual documentary footage. A leak from the production department made the filming locations known to fans, so that when the Beatles showed up to film this first scene, there were hundreds of crazed, rowdy fans already there.
Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, gave the rights to the accompanying album to United Artists before the film was released. The album's advance sales more than covered the film's budget.
The Beatles were big fans of the comedy of Peter Sellers and Spike Mulligan. Director Richard Lester was chosen in large part because he helmed comedy series starring both men.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote six new songs for the film.
Richard Lester makes a cameo appearance during the live performance scene, and a very young Phil Collins briefly appears as an audience member during the television performance scene.