Criterion Collection: a Hard Day's Night (Region A Blu-ray)
Beatlemania is sweeping the Criterion Collection! This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles' beloved musical comedy a HARD DAY'S NIGHT, and to commemorate it we're releasing a jam-packed special edition of the film, featuring a new 4K digital restoration, a newly remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack, and hours of incredible supplements.
- Movies & TV
- 24 Jun 2014
- Supply Source
- Release Year
- Alternate Title
- Hard Day's Night
- Musical & Performing Arts / Television / Musicals / Pop Music / Adventure / Beatles / Classic / Essential Cinema / Live Performances / Music Video / Recommended / Rock And Roll / Television Shows / Theatrical Release
- US Box Office
- $0.5 million
- A HARD DAY'S NIGHT presents a fictionalized day in the life of the Beatles as they give a performance on a live television show. Filmed just a month after their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, this film--the Beatles' first--introduces us to the unique personalities of each member of the band. The film opens with the Fab Four boarding a train mobbed with adoring young fans (mostly women) as they attempt to travel to the television studio in London. The antics of the band during rehearsals and makeup application provide a large part of the comic material in this feature, though there are other moments of pure hilarity. The unscripted vignette featuring a hangover-suffering Ringo is especially funny, particularly when he is arrested and risks having to miss the broadcast. None of this goes unnoticed by the director of the show, played by Victor Spinetti, who went on to become a recurring cast member in Beatles movies. As the clock ticks away dramatically, our heroes manage to free Ringo from jail and sneak onto the stage in the nick of time, delighted in the knowledge that they have nearly driven the director mad in the process. Arguably the first music video ever made, this faux documentary and its shooting style have been a tremendous influence on nearly every rock and roll feature since.
- Theatrical release: July 6, 1964.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was filmed and produced in only 7 weeks, at a budget of 180,000 pounds, or $500,000.
The opening scene, where the Beatles are mobbed by fans while getting onto a train, is actual documentary footage. A leak from the production department made the filming locations known to fans, so that when the Beatles showed up to film this first scene, there were hundreds of crazed, rowdy fans already there.
Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, gave the rights to the accompanying album to United Artists before the film was released. The album's advance sales more than covered the film's budget.
The Beatles were big fans of the comedy of Peter Sellers and Spike Mulligan. Director Richard Lester was chosen in large part because he helmed comedy series starring both men.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote six new songs for the film.
Richard Lester makes a cameo appearance during the live performance scene, and a very young Phil Collins briefly appears as an audience member during the television performance scene.
- Release Notes
Blu-ray Disc Features:
- Region [unknown]
- Cast & Crew
- Richard Lester
- Beatles / Wilfred Brambell / Kenneth Haigh / George Harrison / John Junkin / John Lennon / Eddie Malin / Paul McCartney / Anna Quayle / Norman Rossington / Victor Spinetti / Ringo Starr / Richard Vernon
- Alun Owen
- Walter Shenson
- Director of Photography
- Gilbert Taylor
- John Jympson
- Music Producer
- George Martin
- Movie Critics
- Chicago Sun-Times
- "...It was smart, it was irreverent, it didn't take itself seriously, and it was shot and edited by Richard Lester in an electrifying back-and-white, semi-documentary style..."— Roger Ebert (27 Oct 1996, p.5)
- Entertainment Weekly
- "...[A] rapid-fire screenplay and the...Beatles' charismatic acting....Irresistible..." -- Rating: A+— Ira Robbins (20 Oct 1995, p.75)
- Hollywood Reporter
- "...The film is mad, mad and crazy....Imaginative..."— Al Finestone (1 Dec 2000, p.13-52)
- Los Angeles Times
- "...A HARD DAY'S NIGHT creates pure, infectious joy. Larking about is what these Beatles do best, pleasure is what they convey..."— Kenneth Turan (1 Dec 2000, p.C4)
- "...Helter-skelter glee..." - Recommended— Josh Rottenberg (1 Dec 1995, pp.123-4)
- Rolling Stone
- "...Fabness itself....They look prettier than Audrey Hepburn, talk funnier than the Marx Brothers and strut sassier than Brando..."— Rolling Stone Staff (27 Nov 2003, p.72)
- Total Film
- "...As a vehicle for the mop-tops' schoolboy humour and all-smiles-and-screams gig, it's infectious stuff..."— Kevin Harley (1 May 2001, p.100)
- USA Today
- "...Groundbreaking..."— Mike Clark (27 Sep 2002, p.16D)