Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Hard Day's Night

Richard Lester, 1964, bw (8.6*)
Perhaps dated a bit by time, talented British director Richard Lester attempts to comically show the world the typical day in the life of The Beatles at the height of the mania inspired by their combination of pop music hitmaking and photo-congeniality, which made them the new Elvis in the hearts of teenage girls worldwide. This movie was in such demand that I remember having to buy tickets in advance, like a music concert, that every showing sold out, and we had to try to hear the film over the unending screaming of all the girls in the theater, especially when they showed Paul onscreen.

Lester does a great job combining the wackiness of silent era comedies, particularly Buster Keaton, with the quirky personalities of the individual Beatles, which was more on the side of amiable British eccentricity rather than frightening sociopathic menaces. These were guys that our moms wouldn't mind having over for dinner, even though, of course, they'd like to give them haircuts first.

This film will remain a seminal rock history movie, as the world could barely take another bad Elvis film, and this gave the genre a needed shot in the arm. The film's cinematography and editing are top notch, placing it levels above all rock music films that preceded it. The film ends in a short version of a Beatles concert, so we're given basically a live performance rather than the canned and dubbed fare that Hollywood was dishing out to pop music audiences. Unfortunately, it also spawned the tv pop pablum beginning with the Monkees, which almost made one hate Lester for what he started.

This will remain a must-see for Beatles and 60's music fans, for others it will be a shallow and silly mockumentary style slapstick comedy, with hardly the weight of a guitar pick. There's no real story here (the Ringo attempt at drama is laughable), it's just an excuse for a dozen music videos, and to introduce the world to more Beatles songs and a ready-made multi-million selling soundtrack.

Unfortunately, this refreshing and well shot black and white classic was followed by the atrocious color disaster Help! That had an even worse pseudo-plot about a magic ring of Ringo's, him being chased by primitives, and there the music videos seemed entirely injected and out of place, so neither the story nor the music worked in that one. At least it produced one of John Lennon's best songs, "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away".

0 comments:

About Me

My Photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.



These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP