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Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Hard Day's Night - Basement Matinee



Hello Dwellers and Welcome To Basement Matinee...

At the height of Beatlemania in 1964.... a little movie was made for £189,000 and in so many ways, set the standard for film to capture the craziness the Fab Four experienced with the perfect mix of satire.

From the word go (or rather first chord of the title song), we see John Lennon, Paul McCartny, George Harrison & Ringo Starr (playing themselves) running to escape their fans in order to catch a train to London where they are going to perform on television. Over the course of the first act, we are introduced to Paul's grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) whose a bit of a troublemaker, their road manager (played by John Junkin) and manager (played by Norman Rossington). It's established that the Fab Four are group of fun loving lads, though Ringo is quite reserved, someone who enjoys a good book, which draws him quite a bit of ribbing from his mates. Paul's granddad encourages Ringo to go out an experience life... which causes drama, cause as the concert approaches, he is missing!


To be truthful, the plot and set up exists to set up the musical numbers, which is basically the 50%  'A Hard Day's Night' soundtrack, and quite frankly it's worth it, cause everything fits together beautifully, setting a standard for 'Jukebox Musicals' that are basically 'product placement features. (I'm going to get heat for that aren't I?). The when they are performing their own song, the sequences very well edited together, with tightness to keep the lip syncing to the album version of the song in step.

 
The story itself is basically just 'skits' featuring the Fab Four (such as making a train trip a bit miserable for a fellow passenger, flirting with girls, driving the stage crew at the TV station a bit batty), and since it's done tongue-in-cheek it all comes across as great romp. Not to mention quite a lot of the iconic imagery associated with the band from just how popular they were is represented here (the screaming girls, the harmony of the band, etc).


As far as the individual performances, someone must've realized that Ringo was the 'best' actor of the four, since he has the most screen time and interaction with other characters. John, Paul & George hit their marks, but it was clear they were given material they could play around with, and this is where a lot of the laughs of the film come from. Not to mention, it probably inspired The Monkees television series



So the obvious bit here is, do I recommend seeing this movie? Why yes I do! While it gives an over the top portrayal of Beatlemania, it certainly is a lot of fun to watch, and the songs are great. Currently, for those of you who like your streaming services, it is available on Hulu, and of course on DVD and Blu-Ray!







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