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New Criterion 'A Hard Day's Night' DVD uses groundwork laid by Miramax version

The newly released Criterion DVD/Blu-ray of The Beatles film “A Hard Day's Night,” which contains behind-the-scenes information and interviews, owes much to the 2002 Miramax DVD version that was supervised by Beatles historian Martin Lewis, who conducted the interviews for the earlier release.

The Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night."
Courtesy of Bruce and Marsha Karsh - used by permission

“The new commentary track has been assembled solely from the extensive commentary and interview recording sessions I moderated and produced at Twickenham Studios in October 2001 in preparation for the first-ever DVD edition of AHDN released through Miramax in September 2002,” he told Beatles Examiner.

“All the cast and crew interviewees were recruited by me to take part,” he said. “I conducted interviews, some of them one-on-one and some of them two folks at a time. And then I also conducted some real-time commentary sessions with various cast and crew members.”

Lewis says he is happy with what Criterion did with the new disc. “Criterion were provided access to all that content and I have been warmly thanked for all the work that went into recruiting and assembling the interviewees and for my expertise and moderating skills that solaced so much wonderful content. So I am very proud of that.”

He criticized what Miramax did with the 2002 release. “I have not done an A/B comparison of the two commentary tracks. But I know that Miramax did not use all the available material and indeed rushed the post-production of the commentary track in ways that I did not approve. I have great respect for Criterion. I'm sure they have done a better job with the fruits of my work.”

He said he is also glad that his “Things They Said Today” documentary was used on the new disc. “What I am also extremely proud of is that Criterion chose to include my in-depth documentary 'Things They Said Today' which I produced and directed. That was one of my true labors of love, especially as I secured many interviewees who had never or rarely spoken about AHDN, such as David Picker, and drew on my longstanding personal friendships with people such as Walter Shenson, conducted a few years earlier of course, George Martin and Richard Lester. So I'm tickled pink that they have included it.”