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A Hard Day's Night Reviews

Director Richard Lester's pop masterpiece is back and better than ever, thanks to a sparkling new 35mm print and a Dolby stereo soundtrack. Refreshing, innovative and immensely funny, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT tells the story of 36 hours in the lives of the Beatles in a quirky fashion that will have you laughing from the first moment. Besieged by their frenzied fans, John, Paul, George, and Ringo board a train for London, where they are to do a live television appearance. They are accompanied by Norm (Rossington), their manager (a parody of Brian Epstein), his aide, Shake (John Junkin), and Paul's grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell), a "clean old man" who proves to be a mischievous old coot. In London, the boys cavort at a swinging nightspot before going in search of Grandfather, whom they find chatting up a buxom bird at a casino, and drag him back to the hotel over his angry protests. At the television studio the next day, Grandfather convinces Ringo that he is unappreciated by the rest of the group, and the dejected drummer disappears into the city streets. But how can the lads go on television without Ringo? Producer Walt Shenson thought he would rush this into production and take advantage of the Beatles' immense popularity before their celebrity waned. Made in only seven weeks for just over half a million dollars, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT returned many times its cost. Its sequel, HELP (also directed by Richard Lester), cost almost three times as much, wasn't as good, and won't be remembered as long as this anarchistic, Marx Brothers-like romp. Combining surrealistic imagery and cinema verite techniques, borrowing from Fellini, Godard, Keaton, and even Busby Berkeley, Lester arrives at his own dazzling style and creates one of the most inventive pictures of the era. Alun Owen's wonderful screenplay is full of witty surprises, delivered as only the Beatles could, and a number of their classics are well integrated into the narrative.