A Hard Day’s Night strikes me as an odd selection for the list. I suspect it is there as merely as representation for the Beatles, probably the greatest rock group of all time, in much the same way Report is there as a representation of the Kennedy assassination (though again, why the Zapruder film wouldn’t have been ideal I don’t know). Well, I’m not too sure that being one of the biggest music groups means that you automatically get a spot on a must-see film list, as aside from the songs, there’s little reason to subject yourself to this one.
The film opens with a crowd of girls running after the fleeing Beatles, who engage in various shenanigans to escape the mob. Indeed, the name of the game in this film is “shenanigans”; the film essentially follows the Beatles as they go to various places, perform various songs, and well… shenaaaaaningans. Even the dialogue is filled with it, serving for little other purpose than to give the boys and their various supporting players reasons to bounce off each other like ping-pong balls. The group can hardly be called actors, not that they were expected much to be, especially poor Ringo who is often given the flub lines and acts like a fish out of water. For a film detailing a musical group, the audio could’ve been a spot better; it often rang tinny and reverberated against itself. The one good aspect was of course the music, but even that was taken from the studio release and overdubbed over the boys performing it on screen, which created a huge disconnect between the songs and the visuals.
I get it; I get that this was hugely important for the scene of music’s influence in film and video and television and all that, but this just skipped right by me. Maybe I’m too young to appreciate it, having been disillusioned by all the runoff this generated growing up, but even looking at the technical aspects of the film I could tell that it did not hold up well at all. This film was so obviously created as a cash grab for Beatlemania that it just screams and dazzles off the screen and leaves little room for anything else. I did enjoy some of the bits with Paul’s supposed grandfather, who was a vaudeville character of the highest order. Really, the whole thing is just a series of vaudeville encounters and snappy dialogue that lacks much snap, aside from being distinctly British. Even as a fan of the Beatles, even their early work, this was a huge pain to watch. Take it from me, just stick to the records.
Arbitrary Rating: 5/10