Review of the Movie, A Hard Day's Night

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"A Hard Day's Night" catches the first flaring of Beatlemania in a manner at once subtle and intelligent. The plot is simple: a day in the life of the Beatles as they try to make it to a performance, burdened by Paul's trouble-making grandfather (Wilfred Brambell); inept reporters, police, and studio moguls; and, of course, hordes of screaming teenage girls. All the while, the Beatles remain as laid back as can be, responding with dry, very British one-liners and shifting easily into melodic musical interludes, such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "All My Lovin'," and "I Wanna Be Your Man." This is the pre-Sergeant Pepper Beatles, and their pleasant, playful enthusiasm mirrors the general innocence of the early sixties, before Vietnam and LSD opened the eyes of millions to political injustices and self-explorations. Nevertheless, A "Hard Day's Night" is more than a wonderful reflective surface. Lester also makes it into a commentary on the interactions of spectacle and perspective in an age when television and movie cameras were becoming the primary windows to the world.

Richard Lester had achieved previous critical success in 1959 with The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film, a grainy, experimental, 11-minute film starring Peter Sellers. As much as he wanted A "Hard Day's Night" to be a fun musical comedy, he also hoped to make a serious chronicle of a serious social and political movement — the emerging power of youth in England and America. The Beatles and their fans represented a generational rebellion which grew throughout the '60s, a segment of dissatisfied, middle-class young people who outnumbered those adults maintaining the status quo of political and psychological oppression...

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...ey had in A "Hard Day's Night"; at times, it seems like the Beatles are the support, not the other way around.

It is still a fun movie, though. The film throws out so much comedic material during its 90 minutes that some of it had to stick, so "Help!" offers enough entertainment to remain worth watching. Moreover, it is always nice just to watch the Beatles play, even if they are lip-synching.


(1) All Media Guide. (2007). MLA style. Retrieved July 14, 2007 from

(2) The Reel Beatles. (1999). MLA style. Retrieved July 14, 2007 from
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