A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

It’s very clean, isn’t it? Tim Brayton has already done a particularly splendid analysis of this film, and for that sort of thing the best thing I can do is send you there directly. As for me, this film holds a special place in my DVD collection, by virtue of having been (along with Fight Club—HMV were having some sort of sale that day) the first film I actually bought for it… and, in terms of my appreciation of the Fab Four, it was actually quite vital in giving me some insight into their early appeal. Cos for a long time I was primarily interested in their later stuff, from Revolver onwards, and I was mostly comparatively cool on the earlier work. (This was true of my approach to popular music generally, I should say; my “year zero” pretty much used to be 1967, though over the years I’ve worn it back a bit earlier.) Though I’d seen the film on TV, I still didn’t quite get the early Beatles. And then for some reason the film got a theatrical re-release around 2000 or 2001, and I couldn’t not go. And so I went. And I got it. Not so much from seeing the picture on the big screen as hearing it, listening to those songs being played at cinema volume. Suddenly something clicked. The film itself is terrific, obviously, for many of the reasons Tim Brayton note; it is indeed glorious surface but there’s also room for deeper viewing if you really want to, and the film actually does withstand same in a way that, well, Help! or Magical Mystery Tour don’t. AHDN is a terrific example of the sort of thing that it is—i.e. a quickly assembled cash-in on what was probably thought at the time to be the soon-to-fade popularity of Lennon McCartney Harrison & Starr—while managing to be more than just that; there’s joy in the end result which overcomes any cynically mercenary motives that might’ve underlaid its creation.

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