Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Hard Day's Night! (1964)

Directed by Richard Lester. Starring The Beatles.

Prior to this film, rock'n'roll had something of an uneasy relationship, with stars like Elvis Presley making profitable but disreputable movies. However, with this film, rock cemented its presence in cinema in a big way. In this film, the Beatles (playing versions of themselves) spend the hours prior to a televised concert rehearsing, preparing, and killing time, but the film, while in documentary style, is fictionalized. All four of the Beatles were natural performers, each unafraid to kid his own image, and all of them get their showcase scenes (the most memorable being Ringo's escape into the outside world). The music is great too, naturally, and instead of using performance numbers throughout, Lester scores scenes and montages with the songs much like previous filmmakers did with instrumental pieces, which served to make the songs and the images inseparable from each other. When the final concert comes at the end of the film, it's just about perfect, focusing not only on the song itself, but also on the band members emotions and the audience's reaction, creating a rush of adrenaline that's rare and quite special.

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