Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Second Sight: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT on Blu- ray ""

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Second Sight: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT on Blu- ray

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964; Richard Lester)
The Beatles. What can I possibly say about the Beatles that hasn't been said? What can I add to the cultural conversation regarding perhaps the most known rock group in history? A daunting task indeed. I mean, I love the Beatles and have from a very young age. I will say that I wasn't much into their films until the past decade or so. Not sure why it took me that long to come around to the films. I know that my little girl had something to do with my reversal. She's five now and has been a gigantic YELLOW SUBMARINE fan for at least half of her life already. She just adores that movie. So in the past year or do I've started to try to introduce her to other Beatle cinema. She seems to be on board with HELP! I think. HELP! is a pretty fun kids film by the way if you've been thinking of showing it to your youngster(s) but haven't pulled the trigger. Unlike A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, it's in color, which makes it an easier transition from animated fare. I've hooked my daughter with a few Black & White movies so far, but I haven't gotten her to a passionate place with the monochromatic media yet. I hope this new Blu-ray will be one of the things that helps me turn the corner with her though. I mean, if she can sit through THE MOLE PEOPLE and enjoy it, certainly the Beatles should be a snap. I've heard a story that Zooey Deschanel at one point told Paul McCartney that she watched A HARD DAY'S NIGHT every single day when she was nine. So in four years, I hope my little girl will love it that much too. I've made it my goal to get her to love musical (ish) movies via films like A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and eventually THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. 
So, as I mentioned, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT wasn't my favorite thing for quite a while. When I started to get hardcore into Richard Lester, my appreciation for it began to elevate a bit. I still preferred his other off the wall narratives like HOW I WON THE WAR, THE KNACK..AND HOW TO GET IT as well
As PETULIA were much more interesting to me at that point. I think it was Steven Soderbergh who first turned me onto Lester and how his unorthodox, fractured narrative storytelling style was a very invigorating and memorable thing. Unlike Godard, he used some cinematic techniques in a bit of a deeper way and it ended up making his films more engaging. Not to say that A HARD DAY'S NIGHT isn't cut from a slightly similar cloth as BREATHLESS, but they are still quite different (though it would seem Godard could easily have influenced Lester). Both filmmakers made movies that were irreverent in comparison to many of their contemporaries. The sense of questioning authority and challenging the status quo would seem woven into the very fabric of the films of both men. One interesting thing to me is that Lester mainly worked with studio money behind him. For the kind of films he made, that was pretty unique even in the 1960s. I think it's quite neat as well that the aforementioned Soderbergh shows signs of some Lester influence throughout a lot of his own work. Apparently though, even amidst a career of littered with unique films, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was something of an anomaly. This quote from Lester himself would indicate that:
"Hard Day's Night was one of those great films that will never happen again to anyone in their lifetime. UA were in profit before we'd even finished shooting - The advance sales on the album - the film was out before the album was out - was more than it cost UA to make the film."

  • In Their Own Voices - a new piece combining 1964 interviews with The Beatles with behind-the-scenes footage and photos.
  • You Can’t Do That: The Making of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ - a documentary by producer Walter Shenson including an outtake performance by The Beatles.
  • Things They Said Today, a documentary about the film featuring director Richard Lester music producer George Martin, screenwriter Alun Owen and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor.
  • Picturewise - a new piece about Richard Lester‘s early work featuring a new audio interview with the director.
  • Anatomy of a Style - a new piece on Richard Lester‘s methods.
  • New interview with author Mark Lewisohn.
  • Audio commentary with cast and crew.
  • New 50th Anniversary trailer.

From Second Sight Films:
The brand new restoration approved by director Richard Lester. Includes original mono audio as well as newly created 5.1 and stereo mixes supervised by sound producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios. In cinemas from July 4th and on Blu-ray and DVD with a host of bonus features from July 21st:

1 comment:

el cornichon said...

Aw man, I envy anyone watching this movie for the first time! I remember seeing it when it came out - the band was straddling the Earth like a Colossus, but here they let me into their world and made me feel comfortably like one of them. Hard to explain, maybe you had to be there...but compare this to whatever two or three movies Elvis made that year!