When mentioning the names John, Paul, George and Ringo, people instantly know who you are talking about. The Fab Four were a microcosm of change in a decade finally releasing the shackles of World War 2. The Swinging Sixties was just beginning and a new youthful vitality was blooming.
Amidst this exciting phase came A Hard Day’s Night, a movie charting several days in the life of everyone’s favourite group. Nobody particularly cared much about its loose plot involving the guys and Paul’s Grand-father John (Wilfred Brambell). What mattered were the chart-topping songs. It is easy to forget in this day of instant video clips that, fifty years ago, such a notion was unheard of. This is perhaps why A Hard Day’s Night was revered as a classic slice of musical cinema.
Whilst it would have been very easy for it to rest on its musical laurels, the movie is more than a visual jukebox. Under Richard Lester’s impish direction there are moments of genuine hilarity as the guys stumble from one crisis to another. Given they only just received the necessary actor’s equity card the day filming started, they provide surprisingly good performances. Obviously they are playing extensions of themselves but each bring an interesting and unique edge to their screen personas.
You can’t take A Hard Day’s Night too seriously with the music and comedy blending perfectly. Even in black and white, you can feel the joyful colour of the guys’ surrounds via their humour and approach to life. It doesn’t out-stay its welcome and would begin a small group of films featuring the band with the follow-up, Help, being even more colourful. It’s easy seeing why the movie has lasted the decades and will continue delighting fans of all ages for many years to come.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8