A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
The 1964 box office hit A Hard Day’s Night gives us a great comedic musical experience and a closer look at both The Beatles’ life, which is filled with lots of work and lots of running cause they had to escape the masses of women from ripping them apart, and how show business is, which is filled with lots of demands which the Beatles basically avoided and decided to go and have fun. This musical comedy captures how The Beatles impacted Great Britain at the time for they were not as big in the United States just yet. After this movie came out The Beatles were the biggest thing in the world and Richard Lester became one of the biggest names in movies and I can see why not to mention that the Beatles demonstrated that they could also be funny after writing the script along Alun Owen. Not only does it have a great story and great songs but the film shows us the fun side of The Beatles and it shows us how they try to get out of show business for at least five minutes and enjoy themselves, we can see this in the first half of film. In the second half of the film we can look at The Beatles preparing themselves, if you can say that because they don’t like to rehearse or anything, for a TV special but they got one little problem: Ringo’s gone missing after receiving bad advice from Paul’s grandfather who is nothing but a troublemaker in the film, but his troublemaking adds to the fun moments in the film so it’s okay if he wants to be a troublemaker. At the end of the film we can see how the Beatles impact British and worldwide culture itself as they play in the TV special. We can see the faces of thousands of fans who are shouting, jumping, dancing and some of them even crying out of the excitement.
This film is also one of the first films to be released from the pop musical sub-genre which came in the early 1960s in Britain. Other films from this “movement”, if you can say that, are Expresso Bongo, The Young Ones, Summer Holiday, Wonderful Life (all of which starred Cliff Richard) and Catch Us If You Can starring Dave Clark Five. Pop-musicals focused on bringing acts from the British pop invasion and youth culture to the big screen.
A Hard Day’s Night and the rest of the films mentioned above were probably the inspiration to create music videos because the artists are basically using film as a medium to show their music. Some artists even hire movie directors to write them a narrative based on the song or songs so they can make the film or video. Examples of these are Michael Jackson’s Thriller directed by John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, 1979 & The Blues Brothers, 1980), The Killers’ Bones directed by Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, 1991 & Alice In Wonderland, 2010) and most recently Kanye West with his short film Runaway based on his latest album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” which he directed but was written by Hype Williams who has directed music videos since 1991.
On the other side of things film directors often compose the soundtracks of their films using pop music or any other type of music that has the Billboard charts to bring audience or sometimes they even use musicians as their actors like for example David Bowie in 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth and Sting in Quadrophenia (Franc Roddam, 1979). However it is unusual for pop artists to be better known for their film work.
In conclusion, A Hard Day’s Night captures how big the Beatles were becoming and how big they became, and not only that but it is probably one of the biggest inspirations for the creation of the music video. Filled with lots of jokes and lots of goofing around by the Fab Four, A Hard Day’s Night is a great movie experience for the entire family. I personally was quite amazed why this movie didn’t win any awards but after looking at the year it came out I immediately knew why it didn’t win, Disney’s Mary Poppins came out in 1964 as well so yeah, everybody went crazy for Mary Poppins.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Hard Day’s Night. Dir. Richard Lester. Perf. The Beatles. 1964.
Emma Hill, Neil Randles & Ron Callow. 501 Must-See Movies. London: Polly Manguel, 2010.
Street, Sarah. British National Cinema 2nd Edition. New York, NY, USA: Routledge, 2009.