Review: A Hard Day’s Night (★★★★★)

5 stars

First things first, Ringo can’t dance. There is perhaps no better example of how not to dance than Ringo Starr in A Hard Day’s Night. Despite this flaw, A Hard Day’s Night is wonderfully charming and an excellent example of a music movie. I went into this movie with the skepticism that anyone would, with a movie about a band, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The plot follows the Beatles on their journey to a London studio to perform live later that night. The escapades of the band are silly and fun but the humour of John, Paul, George and Ringo really elevates this movie to be something truly special. The humour falls into the genre of slapstick and goofball yet this doesn’t make the movie seem dated at all, in fact, I laughed more at this movie than I have at many of Hollywood’s recent comedy efforts. All four of the band bring their own character and personality to the movie and it isn’t painful to watch as they all, from what it seems, act naturally.

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The movie is incredibly hard to pin down as it is such a unique combination of music, comedy and documentary. Although the plot is fictitious, it almost certainly feels like a true event. It blurs the line between the Beatles as people and characters so well that you genuinely believe that this is how they acted in their day to day lives, and it’s wonderful.

As the movie progresses, sections break into the songs of A Hard Day’s Night and it works incredibly well. It never feels like a song is shoehorned in just to make sure it’s there. The opening, A Hard Day’s Night, perfectly displays the era of Beatlemania with fans chasing the band through the streets of Liverpool. This is probably the most iconic scene from the movie and it’s a lovely tongue and cheek view of their fans through the eyes of the band themselves.

What is also striking about this movie is how much it predates the music video. For a 1964 movie, the visual accompaniment to both A Hard Day’s Night and Can’t Buy Me Love both show incredible parallels to the music video format. The techniques used to film the band in some of these scenes can be seen time and time again as the inspiration for many artists to come.

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Alongside The Beatles is the rather clean Wilfrid Brambell, most famous for playing Steptoe, as the character of Paul’s Grandfather. The dynamic between the band and Brambell is goofy yet charming and at no point does he feel like he detracts from the plot. In fact, he is the main reason a lot of the plot points occur in the first place. Either by getting himself lost or causing one of the band members to wonder off. There is a particularly lovely scene were Ringo just gets up and has a wander down to the river, due to encouragement from Brambell, where he just goofs around and enjoys himself.

The main point to the movie is most certainly the music and alongside the comedy, it encompasses it to make it truly unique. The concert at the end is a lovely display of some of The Beatles best early works, making this movie a much watch for any music fan.

I absolutely adored this movie. It perfectly captured The Beatles early sound as well as the humour between its members. It is perhaps my favourite music movie, after Spinal Tap, and I thoroughly recommend it to every music fan. Even if you are a fan of their music, there is enough contained within this movie to like that you will have a great time watching it.

 

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