Sixty years after its release, A Hard Day’s Night still stuns

The Beatles run down an alleyway in a promotional image for A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Photo courtesy of Max.
The Beatles run down an alleyway in a promotional image for A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Photo courtesy of Max.

Sixty years ago, in the early months of 1964, America was introduced to four lads from Liverpool. Their musical style was out of this world and they would change popular music entirely in under 10 years. 
The Beatles, comprised of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), quickly took the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 of early 1964, hitting the No. 1 spot with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on their album Meet The Beatles! On Feb. 9, the band appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, starting with their hit song “All My Loving”. 
One hundred forty-eight days after their appearance, the first of four films The Beatles was released, called A Hard Day’s Night, which is available for streaming on HBO Max.

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The film opens with the band running from a crowd of screaming fans as they make their way to a train station while the title song, “A Hard Day’s Night” plays. Lennon, Harrison and Starr run through a shop, hop over walls and fences and hide in a photo booth. After the title song finishes, the four go to their train compartment, where McCartney’s on-screen grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) is waiting, joining the group as he is “nursing a broken heart.”
After the audience is introduced to the band’s road manager, Shake (John Junkin), and manager, Norm (Norman Rossington). Norm asks the group to behave themselves for the journey and the upcoming television performance. The Fab Four proceed to get on hilarious hijinks throughout the film including running away from the cops.
The sound quality is surprisingly good for 1964, and the comedic aesthetic shines throughout the film. 
Overall, the film is an entertaining portrayal of the Beatlemania of the early 1960s, offering a humorous and candid look at The Beatles’ rise to fame. A Hard Day’s Night remains a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences across generations. The film’s wit and charm, combined with the iconic music of The Beatles, make it a must-see. It’s a delightful window into the world of one of the most influential bands in music history. The film has rightfully earned a 5/5 from The Bengal’s Purr.

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