Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Beatles--A Hard Days Night (1964)

     As those who know me well would attest, I'm not much of a movie watcher, and it seems as if the older I get, the less likely it is that the time will be spent watching one. However, there was a time that movies held a bit more of an allure and just like with my writing subjects, movies about music were a must watch....

     Rock stars have always had a thing for being in movies (the opposite is true as well), with very mixed success, especially when real acting is going on.  More common, if not more interesting is the actual rock film where we follow around the musician(s) to see how they live life on the road, or in the studio. Every once in a while they go beyond and truly give a snapshot of the person, such as Madonna in "Truth or Dare". However, they are mostly vanity films that are little more than collector items for fans.

     Except for the rare occurrence when some real acting chops are shown, musicians are under the best light when either asked to play themselves in a movie, or a character that mimics their real persona. The blueprint of this kind of  movie was "A Hard Days' Night". The movie not only stands as a musical, but as one of the best films, period. Part of the reason belonged to Alun Owen who wrote the dialogue. The Beatles were familiar with his work and showed an ability to capture the dialect of a common Liverpool resident. Because the result was so natural for the boys, it put them at ease and allowed for their personalities to peek beyond the words themselves.

     Richard Lester who directed the film got along so well with the group that he was asked to film their second film, "Help". He also asked John Lennon to act in a comedy several years later, "How I Won the War". There were several cameos of note as well. Patti Boyd was an extra as a schoolgirl riding on the train with the boys. She would rebuff George Harrison's advances for a date, saying that she had a boyfriend, but they would soon be a couple and marry less than 2 years later.  There was also a sighting during a concert scene of a young Phil Collins....who I'm sure we will write about in a later blog.

     The soundtrack in my opinion began the transformation of The Beatles into something more than the sum of their influences. The whole package was a charming glimpse of four boys from a northern town who was still marveling at what success was bringing them. Although marketing attempted to keep them pigeon-holed in the same personalities seen here....but we would also never see them like this again. 


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