Tag Archive | Extras

The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night Gets 50th Anniversary Restoration and Re-Release!

A Hard Days Night One Sheet
Photo By Gail

Do you love The Beatles? I sure do. I remember watching the band’s first film, A Hard Day’s Night, for the first time on a black & white TV set tucked way in a family room that we called The Den, and being totally enraptured by The Beatles charming shenanigans and totally amazing songs. I was probably five years old at the time, and by then the film was two years past its 1964 release date. Since that day, I’ve seen A Hard Day’s Night countless times on TV — either broadcast or via recorded media– but I’d never had the chance to see it on a Big Screen until Criterion hosted a press screening last month to promote the upcoming release of the newly restored 50th Anniversary edition of the film. Let me tell you, it is really something special, and sitting there in the dark theater with images of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr all larger than life, took me right back to being that little five year old girl who was (and still is) just completely nuts about The Beatles.

Hard Days Night Ticket Stub
This and Image Below Courtesy of Rogert Ebert Dot Com

Directed by the legendary Richard Lester and released amid the initial global frenzy of Beatlemania, A Hard Day’s Night follows the fab four through a fictionalized ‘typical day’ of running from hoards of crazed fans, traveling by train, hanging out in their hotel room, meeting the press, cracking wise, filming a live TV show and, finally, performing for a capacity crowd of those same of hysterical fans who simply will not stop screaming. There are couple fun subplots such as a hilarious running joke about Paul’s Grandfather (Played brilliantly by Wilfrid Brambell, who was actually on 50 years old when he made A Hard Day’s Night) and a sweet interlude where a dejected Ringo runs off to have his own brief misadventure. The film is just fantastic and features a dozen original Beatles songs that still sound better than any pop music released in the past 20 years or more. I could watch it over and over again.

A Hard Day’s Night returns to theaters on July 4th, 2014 (check local listings for showings your area), but this past week saw the release of Criterion Collection’s DVD/Blu-Ray edition of the film, featuring a new 4K digital restoration approved by Richard Lester with three audio options. Up to Criterion’s usual high standards, the package also contains a booklet with an essay by critic Howard Hampton and a number of extras; some of these are vintage documentaries about the film, but two of the best are new: an interview with author Mark Lewisohn tracing The Beatles’ history up to A Hard Day’s Night, and “Anatomy of a Style,” an astute analysis of Lester’s and editor John Jympson’s techniques. This collection is must-own for all Beatles fans.

Hard Days Night Movie Poster

About the video and audio restoration: Using the latest in digital restoration technology, the Criterion Collection was able to restore A Hard Day’s Night from the 35 mm original camera negative, which, though incomplete, was in excellent condition. The missing material was taken from two original interpositives. The image was scanned in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner to retain the character of the film’s original printing stock without any generational loss, and the raw data was carefully treated using a variety of digital tools to remove dirt, scratches, flicker and other damage. The final result was approved by director Richard Lester, and is in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.75:1. Stereo Audio Restoration and 5.1 Surround sound were supervised by sound producer Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), with the soundtrack and songs remixed at Abbey Road Studios and Twickenham Studios by Martin and Sam Okell.

I will leave you with some fun A Hard Day’s Night Trivia! Enjoy!

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song “A Hard Day’s Night” in one night, basing the title on a Ringo-ism.

The soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night was the band’s first record not to include any cover songs, and is also the only all-Lennon-McCartney LP in their catalog.

The film was titled Yeah Yeah Yeah in Germany, Tutti per uno (All for One) in Italy, Quatre garçons dans le vent (Four Boys in the Wind) in France, Yeah! Yeah! Tässä tulemme! (Yeah! Yeah! Here We Come!) in Finland, and Os reis do Iê-Iê-Iê (The Kings of Yeah-Yeah-Yeah) in Brazil.

A thirteen-year-old Phil Collins is an extra in the Scala Theatre scene.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the dancers in the nightclub scene, watching her then boyfriend Jeremy Lloyd (also in Help!) trade moves with Ringo on the dance floor.

The characters of Norm and Shake were based on the Beatles’ personal assistant Neil Aspinall (Norm) and road manager Mal Evans (Shake).

During the performance of “Tell Me Why,” director Richard Lester can be seen briefly toward the end of the song, walking by the front of the stage.

The words The Beatles are never spoken throughout the course of the movie.

A Hard Day’s Night competed for two Academy Awards, losing in both categories: best screenplay (Alun Owen) and best adapted score (George Martin). None of The Beatles’ original songs were nominated.

Watch the Trailer Below:

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Ricky Gervais at The Theater at Madison Square Garden

While it was once the case that people knew British actor and comedian Ricky Gervais mainly from his having created the wildly successful TV series, The Office, these days he’s something of a household name. Few would argue that Gervais has enjoyed an exponential increase in popularity these past few years; not only with commercially successful films like Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying but also via his TV shows such as HBO’s Extras and The Ricky Gervais Show, an animated series based on his hilarious podcasts. I just adore him. When I heard that Ricky was coming to the Theater at Madison Square Garden for two shows in May as part of his current Out of England 2 tour, I snagged a pair of tickets so I could take my friend Diane (aka “Diaaaahhhne!”) for her birthday, as she is a huge fan as well. I appreciate Ricky’s offbeat humor and the fact that he isn’t afraid to risk offensiveness for a good laugh – because most worthwhile humor pushes the boundaries of good taste – but I admit that I was unprepared for how completely filthy and un-PC Gervais’s stand up shows are. But filth and depravity has never bothered me. Bring it on, I say!

After a brief but hilarious warm up set by comedian Todd Barry, and a short film featuring fellow comic Louis C.K. that set the bar for the raunch and outrageousness to follow, Gervais hit the stage dressed in his usual uniform of jeans and T-shirt and entertained the sold-out crowd with mock tirades about subjects ranging from African famine to his fear of flying after 9/11 and his observation that spiders are never really relaxed but rather are “always ready for action.” My favorite of his routines were those also accompanied by slide show presentations.  One was devoted to deconstructing a children’s book about Noah’s Ark (wondering how Noah could get two of every species of animal into the Arc “when the giraffes took up a third of the room already”). Those who’ve seen Gervais perform before know that Bible stories are among his favorite targets. Another highlight of the evening was his exploration of the book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity,  exploring gay behavior in the animal kingdom, which was completely hilarious and just offensive enough to inspire a couple seated down the row from us to get up and leave mid-set! Gervais is a big supporter of Gay rights and some of his more “adult” material concerns the fact that sexuality is something one is born with rather than a personal choice. But he certainly doesn’t feel the same about fat people, and while he’s a former fatty himself (Gervais has now lost enough weight to be considered quite trim) he is side-splittingly merciless when it comes to poking fun at those who would take up a little too much room on the bus. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to find yourself laughing about matters we’ve been taught to be socially sensitive about, but you just can’t help it. Gervais is fucking hilarious. Diane and I laughed all the way through his tight 75-minute set.

Ricky Gervais plays Saturday and Sunday May 15th and 16th at L.A. Live’s Nokia Theater.