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Restored 'A Hard Day's Night' to play in U.S. theaters this summer

The newly restored version of the Beatles' first film “A Hard Day's Night” will play in more than 50 cities nationwide over the July 4th weekend, Janus Films has announced. The film will be exhibited as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of its world premiere in London.

A publicity shot from the Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night."
Courtesy of Bruce and Marsha Karsh - used by permission.

The movie has been digitally restored in 4K resolution from the original camera negative by the Criterion Collection's restoration team. The resulting image, which was approved by director Richard Lester, will feature a soundtrack remixed and remastered for modern 5.1 sound systems by producer Giles Martin at Abbey Road Studios.

The newly restored AHDN had its world premiere at a sold-out event at the TCM Classic Movie Film Festival in Hollywood. It was introduced by Alec Baldwin and record producer Don Was. Starting July 4th, the film will play in selected theaters across the country, including New York City's Film Forum, Los Angeles' The Cinefamily, and San Francisco's The Castro Theatre.

The film, which premiered at London's Pavillion Theatre in 1964, stars John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr with Wilfrid Brambell and features eight Beatles' songs. It was directed by Richard Lester, written by Alun Owen and produced by Walter Shenson for United Artists. The film is now owned by Bruce and Martha Karsh, who licensed the Janus-Criterion release.

The Criterion Collection restored “A Hard Day's Night” using the latest in digital restoration technology from the original 35mm camera negative, which, though incomplete, was in excellent condition. The missing material was taken from two original interpositives. The image 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 company said. The result was approved by director Richard Lester, and is in its original theatrical aspect ration of 1.75:1.

"Nothing beats seeing this film on a big screen in a packed house with the new restoration looking and sounding so good,"​ ​said Peter Becker, president of the Criterion Collection and a partner in Janus Film. "The world premiere screening at the TCM festival was electrifying. It was amazing that easily half the audience raised their hands to say that they had never seen the film before.

“The crowd cheered from the opening chord and applauded after every song,” Becker said. “'A Hard Day's Night' sweeps you along on a tide of pure fun, but it's also one of the must-see wonders of the modern cultural world. The sheer energy and charisma of the Beatles is irresistible, and Richard Lester's cinematic style is just as infectious. It's the perfect multi-generational summer night at the movies, and we're incredibly excited that so many theaters have already committed to show it on July 4th weekend all across the country."