May 20, 2011

A Hard Day's Night (UK 1964)

Why have "The Beatles" become as popular as they did? Was it because their music was so much better than all the other bands at that time? I seriously doubt it. Sure, they are responsible for a great number of catchy pop songs but their huge success is probably due to other factors. Their style and haircuts may have been a part of it but what set them apart and made them irresistable for anyone but the most jaded cynics was above all their passion and joy for life.

And this innocent joy for life truly comes alive in their first film "A Hard Day's Night" from 1964. It tells nothing more than a day in the life of the band but what could have become quite ordinary in someone else's hands is here done with refreshing wit and style by director Richard Lester. The film was way ahead of its time with its fast cuts and inventive camerawork that is now commonplace in music videos. The semi-realistic "mockumentary" approach also works pretty well in the sense that you never really now what's real and what's invented.

What was definitely not invented were the personalities and hilarious one-liners of the Fab Four. Just watching John, Paul, George and Ringo at "work" while listening to some of their best songs is such an immense pleasure that you would wish that the show would last longer than 84 minutes. The vital point of the film from a today's point of view is that it is a reminder that the good times must be enjoyed as much as possible because they usually don't last forever.

I would like to finish off with a quotation from Roger Ebert's review. I don't usually steal from famous critics but in this case I don't think I could express it any better: "The Beatles would go through a long summer, a disillusioned fall, a tragic winter. But, oh, what a lovely springtime. And it's all in a movie."


We have joy, we have fun, we have seasons in the sun

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