In 1964 I waited in line to see A Hard Day’s Night. Tonight, fifty years later, I stood in yet another line to see the same fantastic movie one more time. Today is the exact 50th anniversary (July 6, 1964) of the London premiere of director Richard Lester’s comic and musical masterpiece. His film is truly a black & white gem. MTV, music videos, the Monkees and music TV shows would have never happened had this film not existed.
Here are four or five bits of trivia. Ringo came up with the catchy title of the movie. The opening chord on George’s Rickenbacker guitar is the subject of a complete Wikipedia page. A thirteen year old Phil Collins is one of the extras screaming and going crazing in the audience. Jim McGuinn of the Byrds ordered an electric 12-string the next day after seeing the film with his band mates and folk rock was born. The name The Beatles is NEVER actually spoken at any time during the movie (yes, it is on Ringo’s Ludwig drums).
My local theater was packed for this digital restoration and George Martin’s son, Giles, did a marvelous job as the soundtrack rang out with such spectacular clarity. At the end, as the credits rolled with those familiar photo booth styled photos filling the screen the audience burst into applause. Fifty years later there was no denying this delightful, low-budget little engine that could, is truly a classic. The Beatles’ joy, youth, charm, incredible talent, humor, passion and yes, purity was right there filling up the screen for ninety minutes. They had the world by the balls with a smile and a wink and an undeniable bag full of songs unlike anyone else.