×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Hard Day’s Night

A Hard Day's Night is a wacky, offbeat piece of filming, charged with vitality, and inventiveness by director Dick Lester, slickly lensed and put over at a fair lick. No attempt has been paid to build the Beatles up as Oliviers; they are at their best when the pic has a misleading air of off-the-cuff spontaneity.

With:
John Lennon Paul McCartney George Harrison Ringo Starr Wilfrid Brambell Norman Rossington

A Hard Day’s Night is a wacky, offbeat piece of filming, charged with vitality, and inventiveness by director Dick Lester, slickly lensed and put over at a fair lick. No attempt has been paid to build the Beatles up as Oliviers; they are at their best when the pic has a misleading air of off-the-cuff spontaneity.

Running at 83 minutes, in black and white, it keeps Beatles within their ability. Alun Owen’s screenplay merely attempts to portray an exaggerated 36 hours in the lives of the Beatles. But, though exaggerated, the thin story lines gives a shrewd idea of the pressure and difficulties under which they work and live.

Four set off by train to keep a live television date and, before taking off by helicopter for their next stint, they have some rum adventures. A skirmish with the police, mobbing by hysterical fans, then a press conference, riotous moments in a tavern, a jazz cellar, a gambling club and at TV rehearsals all work into the crazy tapestry and offer the Beatles a chance to display their sense of humor and approach to life.

To give the almost documentary storyline a boost scriptwriter Owen has introduced Paul’s grandfather, a mischief making mixer with an eye on the main chance. Played by Wilfrid Brambell with sharp perception, his presence is a great buffer for the boys’ throwaway sense of comedy.

– Rich

[In 1982, pic was reissued with an extra song, ‘I’ll Cry Instead’, added at the start, and all other songs remixed in stereo.]

1964: Nominations: Best Story & Screenplay, Adapted Music Score

Popular on Variety

A Hard Day's Night

UK

Production: United Artists. Dir Richard Lester; Producer Walter Shenson; Screenplay Alun Owen; Camera Gilbert Taylor; Editor John Jympson; Music George Martin (dir.) Art Dir Ray Simm

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: John Lennon Paul McCartney George Harrison Ringo Starr Wilfrid Brambell Norman Rossington

More Film

  • Rugrats. Nickeoldeon Animation Studios

    Film News Roundup: 'Rugrats' Writer David N. Weiss Honored by Animation Writers

    In today’s film news roundup, David N. Weiss is honored, Rin Tin Tin is getting a modern movie and “The Shasta Triangle” finds a home. WEISS HONORED David N. Weiss will receive the animation writing award from the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America West. The award will be presented by Weiss’ [...]

  • Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films

    Marrakech Chief on Selecting Arthouse Films With a Big Stress on the Word 'Art'

    The 18th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival (Nov. 29-Dec. 7) – one of the leading cultural events in the Africa and Middle East region – will screen 98 films from 34 countries. The fest is also reinforcing its industry presence this year through the second edition of the Atlas Workshops, sponsored by Netflix, which [...]

  • Emma Stone Brad Pitt Damien Chazelle

    Paramount Lands Damien Chazelle's 'Babylon,' Dates It for Christmas 2021

    Paramount Pictures has landed the worldwide rights to Damien Chazelle’s next feature film “Babylon,” sources tell Variety. Insiders add the studio has dated the film for a Dec. 25, 2021 limited release, with plans to go wide on Jan. 7. The release date puts in prime position for another awards season run for Chazelle, who [...]

  • Chris Pratt

    Chris Pratt's Sci-Fi Film 'The Tomorrow War' Gets Release Date

    Chris Pratt’s upcoming sci-fi actioner, which was recently retitled “The Tomorrow War,” has set a Christmas Day 2020 release date. The Paramount film was formerly titled “Ghost Draft.” It follows a man (played by Pratt) who is drafted to fight a future war in which the fate of humanity may rely on his ability to [...]

  • Kim Dong-Ho of GIFF Chairman of

    Inaugural Gangneung Film Festival Pays Tribute to Pierre Rissient

    The opening ceremony of the first edition of the Gangneung International Film Festival was dominated by a tribute to the French film scout and festival selector Pierre Rissient, who died in May 2018. The new festival, 240 km from Seoul, counts former Busan festival co-founder Kim Dong-ho as its chairman and former Bucheon festival head [...]

  • 'Waves': Sterling K. Brown and Trey

    'Waves' Cast Reflects on the Making of the Tragic Family Drama

    “Waves,” a partially autobiographical film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, is a visually arresting look at the fraying of an upper-middle class black family in South Florida in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. It examines themes of grief, domestic violence, substance abuse and modern-day pressures on kids to succeed. “Propelled by color, [...]

  • Gaston Pavlovich

    Gaston Pavlovich Talks About Producing 'The Irishman'

    Through his production company Fabrica De Cine, Gastón Pavlovich is one of the producers on Martin Scorsese’s two most recent movies: 2016’s “Silence” and 2019’s “The Irishman.” The 51-year-old native of Mexico first gained notice as an executive producer on the Tom Hanks comedy-drama “A Hologram for the King.” Pavlovich also began working with Scorsese [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content