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A Hard Day’s Night

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 18:11


Audiences got a special opportunity last week to watch the classic film A Hard Day’s Nightat Carousel Cinemas. It was the first of the “Films that Rock” segment of WUAG’s Mixed Tape film series. The remaining two films are Rock ‘n’ Roll High Schooland Purple Rain. All of the movies this month feature popular music groups in their film debuts.

A Hard Day’s Nightis a comedy film about “The Beatles” struggling with their newly acquired fame. It was released at the height of their popularity in the mid 1960’s. John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison all play themselves as fun-loving and self-aware rock stars that have no idea of how popular they are. The movie is not that simple, however. Each Beatle has a unique personality that is played upon for different comedic effects. Lennon, for example, is the sarcastic member of the group and gets into an argument with a fan who recognizes him but isn’t sure he’s the real John Lennon. After a short exchange, they both agree, despite his remarkable similarity, his nose is too different from Lennon’s.

The humor contrasts strikingly with the strict schedule the four boys have to deal with all the time. They have many recording sessions, live performances, and public interviews to do. Free time is sparse. Even when they aren’t busy with music, they travel all over England and are chased by fans. They still get into all sorts of mischief, most of which is somehow connected to McCartney’s troublemaking grandfather. At one point he persuades Starr, who is reading a book, to go outside and enjoy his young life. Starr tries to, before he is taken into custody for being a public nuisance. He meets Grandpa in jail, and the two are rescued by the rest of the gang. The chase back to the studio involves the entire group, the police, and even fans.

Part of what makes A Hard Day’s Night a timeless comedy is its appeal to casual movie goers and Beatles fans. Several popular songs like, “She Loves Me” and “I Should Have Known Better,” are played at regular intervals. This, in particular, was a real treat for many audience members who were delighted to see the band on the big screen. Even for those who aren’t among the cadre of young and old fans, the movie’s humor has lasting appeal. The group does not come off like the egotistical band members of other movies, nor are they used for cheap laughs. It’s easy to imagine spending time with them. Since there really was a band called “The Beatles,” their shenanigans are placed in a real-life context, and it’s easier to empathize with them. A Hard Day’s Night is a sound film that also happens be a great piece of cultural art.

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