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A Hard Day's Night (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000163691
Added by: David Simpson
Added on: 26/6/2014 21:26
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    Review for A Hard Day's Night

    10 / 10

    A Hard Day's Night follows The Beatles on a day journeying to make a TV show appearance. On the way they have to deal with screaming fans, the press, Paul's meddling but 'very clean' Grandfather, Ringo going AWOL and the general problems of being the most famous four Liverpudlians in the world. During all this, they perform in either performances or as part of the zany montages a number of classic and new Beatles music that defined the era and made it one of the precursors for the music video.

    Coming from Liverpool it would seem biased if I said this was an amazing film and so instead I'll just let its reputation speak for itself. 2 Oscar nominations for Screenplay and Score (oddly not for Best Song), voted as 42nd Greatest British Film of all time by Total Film, Time selected it as one of the 100 Best Films of the last 80 years, a 99% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed over $12million on a budget of less than $200,000. It is hard to knock a film that is so universally loved and I'm certainly not going to be the one that will start.

    This film is simply a phenomenon and personally it is one of the few films that I could watch at any times and enjoy it for a variety of reasons. The music throughout is excellent, as you would expect, the comedy is spot on and so British that you can't help but love all the little slang words that they fit in and the performances throughout are great.

    It is true, this being their first film, that John, Paul, Ringo and George (who were all nominated for a BAFTA for Promising Newcomer) are not great actors, but I think Director Richard Lester and Writer Alun Owen gave them the best coverage and material to work with. The simple scene with John Lennon convincing Anna Quayle that she isn't who she thinks he is, is so perfect that his final line of 'I think she looks more like him, than I do' is wonderful. All four have some great moments with George's hilarious marketing meeting over the 'grotty' shirts, Paul's interaction with his Grandfather played by Wilfred Brambell and Ringo's wandering around which causes him to get in all variety of scrapes.

    The direction by Richard Lester is wonderful and you can really see all the influence of The Goons, who had worked on and also his work in television. His ability to show very surreal moments in the middle of serious comedy is timed so well that you can understand why he was dubbed 'the father of the music video'. Alun Owen's script is filled with wonderful lines and though I'm still not sure how much adlibbing The Beatles did, I still think one of the funniest scenes in film is the press meeting for some of the greatest answers which all sounded like something they would say.

    Reporter: What do you call that hairstyle?
    George: Arthur.

    Reporter: How did you find America?
    John: Turn left at Greenland.

    There's nothing at all that I can criticise from this film and the picture and sound quality of the new Blu-ray is amazing.

    If you are a Beatles fan or a fan of the film you will love this Blu-ray which is simply overflowing with extra features. 'In Their Own Voices' is a new piece which combines interviews with The Beatles from 1964 with behind the scenes footage and clips which is a great idea. All four members tell some very candid stories about the making of the film, the music and how they viewed the film and their performances.

    'Things They Said Today' is a documentary about the making of the film with interviews from George Martin, Richard Lester and other people involved. This was originally from the DVD release and the only thing I would say is that (unless they couldn't get the rights) I don't understand why they didn't include all the other extra features from that set.

    'You Can't Do That: The Making of A Hard Day's Night' is a documentary from 1995 created by the films' Producer Walter Shenson and is a pretty extensive look at the creation of the film from beginning to end. All the people you would expect are interviewed with some comments from critics such as Roger Ebert who rightfully says it is one of the top five musicals of all time and is hosted and narrated by Phil Collins who had been an extra in the film.

    'The Road to A Hard Day's Night' is an interesting interview with Mark Lewisohn about the history of The Beatles. If you want to know more about their history from their early days of The Quarrymen, to the Cavern and on. This is filled with many archive photos of the band members and I did worry that this would be dry and boring, but Lewisohn is informative and able to tell this fascinating story in less than thirty minutes, which I thought would be impossible.

    Two features about Director Richard Lester. 'Picturewise' is a look at his early work which you can see in much of A Hard Days Night. This is great mainly because of all the archive footage including from The Goons and Buster Keaton which is great. 'Anatomy of a Style' is a very bizarre look at how the film is shot spoken by two people Bobbie O'Steen and Suzana Peric who I have never heard of before. It is never really explained who they are and why they were chosen to talk about it. They analyse a number of moments from the film which is fine, but probably would have been better if they had just been allowed to record a commentary... or at least explain who they were.

    I hate to say, but the Commentary is an utter mess, there are far to many people to get any kind of sense of what is going on or why. It would have been much better if they had used all the audio interviews from The Beatles and other notable contributors such as the Director, Writer and Producers rather then this mixbag of stories from random technical people on the film. It's almost like watching Saving Private Ryan with a Commentary from the Boom Mic Operator. Sure, he might have some interesting stories, but he's not the one you want to hear from.

    The inclusion of a new trailer would be fine if they had included the original one (Though it is included in the You Can't Do That documentary). It is a shame that none of the other marketing material is not included or anything to do with the music from the film.

    A Hard Day's Night is one of the most perfect films I have ever seen. If you are a fan of The Beatles you will love it already, but even if you are not, the comedy is timed perfectly, the acting is natural and the whole film is hugely enjoyable. If you have never seen this film before, pick it up, if you have, pick it up as it includes some great features that all fans of The Beatles and this film will love.

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