Whilst in London recently I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the famous Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night (1964) at the BFI at Southbank. I didn’t take extensive notes like I usually do, but thought I would share some thoughts in this quick review.
First up, the BFI in Southbank is a fantastic facility. With the Arc Cinema here in Canberra, an institution with ostensibly similar goals being gutted, it is great to see an archive cinema that is clearly booming and exceptionally popular. It was slightly disappointing to see that there was no real exhibition space at the facility, but in a city like London there are always other places to catch quality glimpses at film history.
The Beatles are of course an exceptional band. I have not explored their music as much as I probably should have, but even so I would say that “Revolver” is probably the most perfect album in pop music history and a work of art to stand against any created in the 20th century. Their work veered from the heartfelt, to the experimentalism of “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” to the silly. It is the latter where the film A Hard Day’s Night comes in as the fab four rollick about onscreen in what is essentially a slapstick farce. It is far from the perfection that some of their music approaches, but that probably makes it all the more fun. It takes a certain level of charm for four not great actors dicking around onscreen to be acceptable cinema entertainment. Those four guys definitely had that charisma. The film also takes some wryly amusing pokes at the frustrations that the band must have felt with the stifling fever pitch of fame that surrounded their every move. As fun as the story – which is essentially a succession of skits – is, the songs when they come along absolutely stand out and are probably reason enough to watch the film alone.
Not everyone will get much out of this. I enjoyed it and if you have even the slightest interest in the band or even slapstick comedy then you probably will too. If you are Beatles nuts like my parents who went with me to see this, you will probably absolutely adore it.
Verdict: Stubby of Reschs
2014 Progress: 18/101 (wow, I am going to fall miserably short of this goal)