"A HARD DAY'S NIGHT: CRITERION EDITION" (2014)
RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2014. Available for pre-order right now on www.amazon.com ($35 3-disc Blu-Ray, $17-$25 single disc Blu-Ray or DVD).
1) New 4K digital restoration of film with two audio options--a mono soundtrack and a 5.1 surround soundtrack made by
Apple Records--presented in uncompressed mono and DTS-HD master audio on the Blu-Ray.
2) Audio commentary featuring various members of the cast and crew;
3) "In Their Own Voices", a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage
4) "You Can't Do That: The Making of A Hard Day's Night", 1994 documentary by producer Walter Shenson;
5) "Things They Said Today", 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer
Alun Owen and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor;
6) New piece about Lester's early work featuring a new interview with the director;
7) "The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester's Oscar-nominated short starring Spike Milligan and
8) "Anatomy of a STyle", a new piece on Lester's approach to editing;
9) New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years;
10) A deleted scene; and 11) Trailers.
In the fifty years since the release of this film, many things have changed in filming techniques, editing, audio/video presentation and music itself. One thing that has not and never will change--it all started with this film. Not everyone got to see this band live but nearly everyone saw this film. At the time, United Artists considered the movie itself to be a throwaway. They wanted to cash in on the soundtrack by beating Parlophone and Capitol Records to the punch--which they did.
Parlophone released their own version which included all eight songs from the movie plus five other titles. Capitol released five of the songs on Something New. Those included "And I Love Her", "If I Fell", "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You", "Tell Me Why" and "I'll Cry Instead" (deleted from film). The United Artists version was obviously the best featuring all eight songs that were actually played in the film plus "I'll Cry Instead" and four tracks of incidental music from the score.
The film itself is now very highly regarded for its presentation and endurance. Lester's free-wheeling style gave the audience a close-up look at the performers as human beings plus a chance to actually hear the music minus the non-stop screaming. The humor was real--much of it spontaneous--and the supporting cast all stayed in character regardless of what they thought of the Beatles and/or their music. The Criterion Edition will take everyone beyond the Fab Four into the mind of the director and his vision.
For local hard-core Beatles' fans and film buffs, the film will receive a theatrical release over the July 4th weekend. Keep your eyes open for ads as the holiday approaches.