The iconic British comedy musical film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” was released on this day in history, Aug. 11, 1964, and starred the Beatles in their first feature movie.
The movie was released during the height of Beatlemania as well as the British Invasion, and “A Hard Day’s Night” is widely considered a classic, according to Britannica.com.
It will mark its 60th anniversary in 2024.
“The musical presents a fictitious account of 36 hours in the life of the Beatles, who portray themselves as they travel to London and attempt to record a performance on television while evading fanatical teenage admirers,” the same source noted.
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The rock ‘n’ roll musical boasts catchy and classic Beatles tunes, including “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and the namesake “A Hard Day’s Night.”
John Lennon wrote the song “A Hard Day’s Night”; it credited to Lennon-McCartney and released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964, according to the Beatles’ official website.
The American and British singles of “A Hard Day’s Night” as well as both the American and British albums of the same title all held the top position in their respective charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964 — the first time any artist had accomplished this feat, said the same source.
United Artists had thought up the premise of the movie in October 1963, said The New Republic.
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The Beatles signed onto the deal, but they “were edgy” about what the movie might be, the same source reported.
Time magazine called the film “one of the smoothest, freshest, funniest films ever made for purposes of exploitation.”
United Artists assigned Walter Shenson as producer and Richard Lester as director. Alun Owen was hired to write a script, according to The New Republic.
The plot line of “A Hard Day’s Night” is about how the Beatles are pursued by their zealous teenaged fans.
The Beatles — Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — board a London-bound train from Liverpool to appear on a television program, and they’re accompanied by their manager, Norm, his assistant, Shake, and Paul’s grandfather, as Turner Classic Movies recounted.
The Beatles, along the way, must rescue Paul’s unconventional grandfather from various misadventures, while drummer Ringo goes missing just before the crucial concert, said Film Affinity.
The film “A Hard Day’s Night” received two Oscars during the 37th Academy Awards.
Time magazine called the film “one of the smoothest, freshest, funniest films ever made for purposes of exploitation,” and film critic Roger Ebert described the film as “one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies.”
Ebert added it to his list of The Great Movies.
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The film received two Oscars during the 37th Academy Awards (1965), which honored movies from 1964.
“A Hard Day’s Night” won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (Alun Owen) and for Best Score (George Martin).
In addition, the film won the BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) of 1965 for movies made in 1964.
An exhausted Ringo Starr reportedly coined the phrase “A Hard Day’s Night” following a filming session on March 19, 1964, according to the Beatles Bible website.
“We went to do a job, and we’d worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day, I suppose, and I said, ‘It’s been a hard day …’ and I looked around and saw it was dark, so I said, ‘Night!’ So we came to ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’” the same source indicated.
“In 1984, ‘Hard Day’s Night’ director Richard Lester was given an award by MTV declaring him ‘the father of the music video.'”
In addition, while the saying was appropriated for the movie, it wasn’t a new phrase, said the Beatles Bible.
“It had appeared in John Lennon’s book ‘In His Own Write,’ published on March 23, 1964, although Lennon always attributed it to his colleague,” the same source noted.
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The movie has both a musical and movie-making legacy in pop culture, as MTV attributes the film with inventing the music video, said Vulture.
“In 1984, ‘Hard Day’s Night’ director Richard Lester was given an award by MTV declaring him ‘the father of the music video,’” the same source pointed out.
“‘Hard Day’s Night’ featured the Beatles playing in concert, but it also featured their songs playing over the action of the film,” Vulture also said.
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In the spring of 1970, the Beatles formally disbanded and the years that followed, all four members went on to produce solo albums.
Lennon released a set of songs with his wife, Yoko Ono, and McCartney formed a new band, Wings, which “turned out a fair number of commercially successful recordings in the 1970s,” said Britannica.
Harrison and Starr also had success as solo artists.
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Today, McCartney and Starr continue to perform.