The Beatles' "It's A Hard Day's Night" Released Nationally
Guest writer Amanda Glenn tells about watching the beautiful restoration of the Beatles’ first film, It’s a Hard Day’s Night. She saw it at the 2014 TCMFF. But you can catch it in its rerelease, nation wide starting this July 4th. Celebrate our Independence with a little British invasion! That’s Amanda Glenn (with purple scarf) in line for the film at the 2014 TCMFF.
I stood in line to see the Beatles – at last. Mind you, back in the day I stood in line to see Elvis for the movie Love Me Tender in 1956, and I did my share of screaming and sighing. But then life intervened and when It’s a Hard Day’s Night came out in 1964 I was into my ‘diapers-to-change-and-no-money-for-the-movies’ phase. I am not entirely sure why I had never seen the movie in the years after but it was with great anticipation that I stood in line at the latest TCMFF last April to see the film at last. And as it turns out, the wait was worth it because I got to see the 50th anniversary restoration of the pop culture phenomenon, which is to have it’s re-release in theaters starting July 4th, nationwide.
I can’t say that I noticed any screaming girls at this screening. In fact, it was a rather graying crowd with a few exceptions, like the one man who had brought his granddaughters to hear his generation’s music. But it was an incredible experience to watch the beautifully restored picture on the big screen at Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre. As it turns out, Paul McCartney and I are exactly the same age, so right off I was remembering when I was that young and wrinkle free. Of course, the music from the opening credits immediately washed away the years and had me (and from the reactions of the people around me I’d say the whole audience) feeling younger and transported to fifty years earlier. Together we all reveled in the light story and the sweet, polite innocence of the four man English invasion.
The plot? Well, I admit there really isn’t much of a one. But there’s also no blood, no gore, or fearful violence. There is a bit of a chase. It’s a chase for a missing grandfather played by Wilfrid Brambell (Steptoe and Son) whose flirtatious actions are more than likely the cause of all his trouble. He’s really rather charming - for a dirty old man that is. The chase has the slight feeling of a Monty Python picture as they go up and down halls and in and out of buildings looking for Granddad and each other. As the press release says, the four lads play wily, exuberant versions of themselves. Although that just sounds redundant to me. Either way, this film captured the astonishing moment when the Beatles officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed by a young Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers, Robin and Marion) the film features a slew of iconic pop anthems, including the title track, "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," and "If I Fell". A Hard Day's Night is credited for re-conceiving the movie musical and of course, exerted an incalculable influence on what was to be the format of music videos.
Naturally, the best part of the whole film is of course the music. Familiar to generations of people worldwide, it was fresh, melodic, and uncontrollably smile inducing. I would have been charmed by it if I had been hearing it for the first time (like the grandkids of the man I saw in line – how I envy them). Nonetheless, I was charmed by it despite the fact I could sing along - perhaps even more so. Because the music is of the Beatles there is no one in my generation and I would guess few in most of the generations that followed that would not enjoy this happy bit of entertainment with the fabulous sound track, particularly now that it looks as stunningly beautiful as it sounds.