August 14, 1964 [A Hard Day's Night]

It's been less than a year since The Beatles took over The Ed Sullivan Show--and still on the radio one can hear a Beatles song every ten minutes or so, on one station or another. They are so fabulously successful that it seems redundant to ask after their state of mind--but A Hard Day's Night knows: They are happy to be The Beatles, their grins steady, their eyes wide with the joy of being the boys they are, bolting around their happily aimless movie, with oddball supporting players shuttling them around, scolding them, cajoling and indulging--all filmed on the run, the camera in the hands of a particularly gifted home-movie enthusiast.

The director, Richard Lester, does not respect cinema--but he certainly loves it, like a reckless boyfriend with a fast car and a wisecrack for every scowling grownup. He's a teenager whose parents are gone for the weekend--forever--and the movie's narcissism, sarcasm, and even offbeat serenity (the sequence in which sad Ringo wanders about in the rainy British black and white is almost touching; he carries a camera, so maybe Lester has a soft spot for the little bloke)--all of this adds up to a public Beatles image that combines irony with ecstasy--and the ecstatic wins, a goofy, offhand egoism that invites everyone to be a Beatle and run riot through celebrity, as though being the most famous humans in the Western world--with all others following, soon--were as nice as a pie and a pint.


  1. I saw this in the theater when I was 7. I remember being thoroughly confused by the whole thing. Was it even a real movie? What was it ABOUT? I felt I ought to like it because it was the Beatles and all, but I had a vague sense that some kind of joke was being played on us.



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