A Hard Day’s Night

Directed by Richard Lester

This is one wild script. In fact it didn’t really surprise me when I discovered that it had been nominated for an Oscar for screenplay. Apparently the film was made in only seven or eight weeks, primarily to cash in on the Beatles’ "trendiness" which was assumed wasn’t going to last that long. Whilst I was watching it I thought of a great double feature: a year or so ago a film came out called The Road To God Knows Where. It’s a documentary of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 1989 tour of America that is a great illustration of just how monotonous and repetitive life on the road is, and that one of the reasons why rock shows seem overly dramatic is because THAT is the most important (and fun) thing that the band gets to do ALL day, from city to city, coast to coast, country to country, continent to continent. I was thinking about this while watching A Hard Day’s Night because the script really goes out of it’s way to demonstrate through surreal exaggeration just what bullshit your average phenomenal band from Liverpool has (had) to put up with strictly because it’s a part of the media.

I mean, as far as a plot is concerned, you’re not ever really SURE that the old guy is Paul’s grandfather. It’s just assumed for the entire length of the film. At one point in a great Freudian slip Paul even says "I’m his grandfather."

It’s also really fascinating to watch how the concept of femininity in the individual Beatles is bandied about in the script. I believe John was the only one who was married (to Cynthia) when the film was made, but the lads really play up willingly the overriding suspicion of their sexual orientation by defending, nurturing and supporting each other in order to keep the teeming hordes out AND as a result very coyly (this IS 1964 still) show coquetry to be such silly bullshit. (I’ve had this conversation quite a few times with some friends about how these days a band is either word of mouth, or else they are MEGA. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of gradation of fame anymore. No time for artists to develop. I think both extremes would be Nirvana and The Beatles. Kurt Cobain never fully developed a thick hermetical seal that an artist needs in order to separate one’s self from the world’s concept of you, and The Beatles were probably the very first band who ever had to deal with the paparazzi on such relentless terms). It’s just so fascinating that an innocent little bit of fluff like this film was designed to be should still hold up some thirty years later.

I think one of my favorite parts is when Ringo starts to think that maybe he IS underappreciated and heads down to the water where he starts talking to the 11 year old about his friends Ginger, Eddie Falon and Ding- Dong. "Deserters, all of them." And Ringo admits that he was a "deserter" in school as well and now realizes, all these years later, just how proud he is of it. I mean, after all is said and done, that was/is the underlying moral of the Beatles: a working class hero is something to be.