Seeing "Hard Day's Night" For The First Time At Age 64

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By John Hubbuch

The Beatles first movie " A Hard Day's Night" debuted in 1964 to enormous popular and critical acclaim. I was 15. I didn't see it when it came out. I'm not sure if  it ever made it to The Grand, New Albany Indiana's one screen movie theater. Besides I was listening to The Beach Boys and Chubby Checker. 

Since I retired I watch about 200 movies a year on DVD from Netflix. I've been retired for more than 4 years, so it was inevitable I guess that "Hard Day's Night" would come to me. I watched it  on Monday.

I must say that I am ambivalent in my reaction to the film. Richard Lester's film was a little auteur for my taste, and the movie was plagued by a pointless sublot involving Paul's grandfather who for some reason is on tour with the boys. But then "Starship Troopers" is one of my favorite movies.                     

On the other hand the Beatles are great. They're skinny, young, alive and clearly ready to take down the world. They seem more on an equal footing with each other. The best parts are the live concert cut-ins which capture the energy and innocence of these unlikely lads who will become the conquerors of the cultural world.

Watching A Hard Day's Knight for me is a kind of sad experience filled with  pangs of regret. It's 1964 and each of the four moptops from Liverpool is alive and well brimming with youthful bravado. It's exhiliarating to watch, but I know what happens. They grow older. They marry. Their personal and musical interests change. They break up. They age, and two of them die early.

I wish they could have stayed just like they were in 1964 singing "This Boy", "Can't Buy Me Love" , "Tell Me Why" and I Should Have Known Better". Forever.

Therapists sat that you do not have to be what you have become. Good advice.    

If only we could be what we were.

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David Hammond from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 11:05 AM

"Hard Day's Night" was so of its time (kind of like "Battleship Potemkin" or "Citizen Kane") that it'd be very hard to view it now and feel what it was like then. "Auteur" -- as in "cinema verite"? I'd agree. At the time, the hand-held camera and "turn on the camera and let it happen" approach was, you know, new.

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