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Big screen re-release for 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night'

It was 50 years ago, 1964, and the Beatles were at the height of 'Beatlemania.' One month after their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their undeniable talent to the big screen, "A Hard Day’s Night"

'A Hard Day's Night'  (1964)
Photo Courtesy Janus Films /B.Karsh/ The Hollywood Archive

Billed as a 'typical' day in the life of the Beatles, this first Beatles’ film directed by Richard Lester, featured many of their iconic songs, including "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," "If I Fell," and, of course, “A Hard Day's Night.” A financial success, the film is highly regarded by fans and critics alike. It was rated by Time magazine as one of the all-time great 100 films and is credited as being one of the most influential musical films of all time that re-conceived the movie musical and exerted an immeasurable influence on the music video.

Now, fast forward to 2014. According to Janus Films, the Criterion Collection has restored "A Hard Day's Night" from the 35mm original camera negative using the latest in digital restoration technology. There was, however, a glitch with missing material. Fortunately, two original interpositives (essentially a negative processed in a positive process) were used to complete the film. The original material was scanned in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner to retain the character of the film's original printing stock without any generational loss, and the raw data was carefully treated using a variety of digital tools to remove dirt, scratches, flicker, and other damage. The final result was approved by director Richard Lester, and is in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.75:1.

This newly restored version should be quite a treat for all ...and somewhat of a time capsule given the 50 year time period that has elapsed. The pseudo-documentary style of the film only adds to the bye-gone era nostalgic feel. The big-screen re-release opens July 4th Nationwide.

Songs As They Appear In The Film:

A Hard Day’s Night
I Should Have Known Better
I Wanna Be Your Man (excerpt)
Don’t Bother Me (excerpt)
All My Loving (excerpt)
If I Fell
Can’t Buy Me Love
And I Love Her
I’m Happy Just To Dance With You
This Boy
Tell Me Why
She Loves You

"A Hard Day's Night" Trivia per

George Harrison stumbles and falls during the opening sequence of the group running down a street towards the camera. This wasn't intended and he ripped the suit he was wearing, but as he quickly recovered, laughed and continued running, it was decided to retain the shot in the film.

Writer Alun Owen put together the plot of the movie while following The Beatles around on their tour of France before they went to America. From observing them, he created their "stereotypes": John Lennon is a smart-ass, Paul McCartney is "cute" and sensible, George Harrison is quiet and shy and Ringo Starr is dim-witted and sad. He also picked up their manners of speech, and their daily routines, with which he created the plot. Despite the comic elements, it really was a "day-in-the-life" look at The Beatles.

The people chasing The Beatles into the train at the beginning of the film are real fans.

The movie's premiere in England took place on the 7th anniversary of John Lennon and Paul McCartney meeting for the first time after a performance by John's first band, The Quarrymen, at the annual Garden Fete.

When shooting began, The Beatles had not yet joined the British actor's union. They were hastily inducted on the set with Wilfrid Brambell proposing their membership, and Norman Rossington seconding the motion.

Ringo Starr's answering a reporter's question "Are you a mod, or a rocker?" with "I'm a mocker" was voted as the #58 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007. Ringo originally coined the quip during an appearance on Ready, Steady, Go! (1963).

Once Ringo Starr's line "A Hard Day's Night" was confirmed as the movie's title, it was put to music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney with participation of George Harrison and Starr). The Beatles collectively composed the song that same night, playing it the next morning to producer Walter Shenson in their dressing room.

This was The Beatles' first feature film and happens to be their only feature filmed in black & white.

United Artists wanted to produce the film because The Beatles' US contract with Capitol Records did not include a provision covering film scores. As a result, the Original soundtrack for "A Hard Day's Night" was released on United Artists Records.

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