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A Hard Day's Night Gets New Life At 50

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A still from A Hard Day's Night, originally released in 1964. A still from A Hard Day's Night, originally released in 1964.

Part jukebox movie, part goofy comedy, part document of Beatlemania at its, well, most manic, A Hard Day's Night is, in many ways, an extended music video capturing John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they play songs and navigate its screaming fans. But among critics and movie buffs, the film itself has only increased in cinematic stature since its release in 1964. Now, just in time for its 50th anniversary, fans will get a chance to see A Hard Day's Night in a new light -- it has just been restored and re-released.

In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Matt Zoller Seitz, editor in chief of the film site of, explores the movie's critical reception and its legacy -- both for feature films and music videos. 

"It's enormously influential,” Seitz says, “particularly for the use of pop music and the editing, and they really go together. What is particularly interesting about it is that it’s the beginning of... the semi-obligatory music interlude."

Directed by Richard Lester, the movie was a celebration of movement and pioneered techniques that have gone on to become staples of music videos in every decade since. The director used unusual camera angles to catch The Beatles running, jumping and cavorting around London and included dry exchanges of wacky dialogue that predate Monty Python's Flying Circus. The newly-restored film is playing in theaters now and a new DVD version comes out this summer.

The Beatles Discuss Filming A Hard Day's Night:

Hear The Beatles members talking about the creative concept behind A Hard Day's Night, now part of The Criterion Collection, and how the titular song was written specifically for the film. 


Matt Zoller Seitz

Comments [3]

paul kollmar from NYC

.. the rest is cake icing-->>within NO TIME after the variety shows and movies came the inevitable; *BRINGING the rock stars into suburbia and INTO PEOPLE'S HOMES-//--remember when PATTY DUKE got CHAD and JEREMY to perform at a local gig on her show??--It was the top sit com of that year->-**Next up was the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW in"" the REDCOATS are COMING"" PETER and GORDON hid out in New ROCHELLE AT THE PETRIE'S-->((MY OWN COUSIN WAS IN THAT CAST IN THAT EPISODE( I'LL BE ON THE PHONE INSTANTLY TO FIND OUT THAT SCOOP)--- *IT WAS CARL REINER'S OWN VALENTINE TO Bye Bye BIRDIE- ,AND EVEN TRUDI AMES( ANN MARGRET'S BEST FRIEND APPEARED)--pk

Jul. 16 2014 08:39 PM
gina ballinger from graz austria

watched Richard Lesters hard days night before the FINALE! Wm 2014 germany vs argentina and it was really fun to see, again, the movie...and John Schaffer! i nodded my head when you said on The Greenespace (Juana Molina, La Mecánica Popular) "we don't want alles für deutschland" or something like that referring to the WM and i was wrong! the germans played beautifully and it was a great game and the Greenespace evening was wonderful, too : )

Jul. 14 2014 03:45 AM
paul kollmar from nyc

...after a brief summmer hiatus;---a few clues to our riddle started back in February----the movie I WANNA HOLD YOU HAND by Bob Zemekis was NOT WELL APPRECIATED by director Richard Lester!-->*find the insider story beginning with the DVD's special feature of the PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLME$S( indeed)-->editor Ernest Walter spilled a few beans about Lester's usurpation of SUPERMAN II--jettisoning John Williams// rupturing the production team of Salkind// and even so cautious a comment appears on actor Mark McClure's bloggs**--(to continue after summer-)--pk

Jul. 13 2014 06:43 PM

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