A Hard Day’s Night
Fifty years have gone by since the Liverpool's Fab Four solidified their standing in the music world with the release of their debut film, "A Hard Day's Night," in July of 1964. Fresh from their ratings-shattering performance on the "Ed Sullivan Show" the previous February, "Beatlemania" was brewing to become the fad of the year, and subsequently, to establish the British Invasion that would, in turn define the music of the 1960's.
Janus Films and the Criteria Collection have chosen to commemorate the release with a newly restored version of the black-and-white movie, including a new interview with author Mark Lewisohn, an 80-page booklet featuring an essay by critic Howard Hampton, and excerpts from a 1970 interview with director Richard Lester.
Other bonus materials include "In Their Own Voices," a new piece combining 1964 interviews with the Beatles with behind-the-scenes footage and photos; Director Richard Lester's Oscar-nominated short, "The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film" from 1960; and rehashes of an hour-long 1994 documentary by producer Walter Shenson, and a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, George Martin, and screenwriter Alun Owen.
If you're looking to own a version of the classic film, this is certainly the copy to obtain. Both the audio and the video have been newly restored at Abbey Road Studios, and the quality is top-notch. Hearing the songs in surround sound, which include "And I Love Her," "Can't Buy Me Love," "If I Fell," and "I Should Have Known Better," sound pristine. This being the only album made up completely of only John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs, including the title track, written in one night after a conversation between Lennon and Shenson about drummer Ringo Starr's misuse of English, "A Hard Day's Night" is frequently credited with launching the Beatles from a "band on the rise" to the music superstars for which they will forever be known.
"A Hard Day's Night: 50th Anniversary Release"
DVD and Blu-ray formats
Janus Films / The Criteria Collection