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50 years later, it’s still ‘A Hard Day’s Night’


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You have to wait a full two-and-a-half minutes into the film for the screams.

The out-of-control frenzy symbolized young fans’ response to The Beatles in the band’s first film, 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” following the trademark opening chord by guitarist George Harrison.

The Beatles’ wit and whimsy returns 50 years later in remastered format during showings at Columbus’ YES Cinema Friday through July 24.

Critics said “A Hard Day’s Night “ changed everything from concert footage to film making in general.

Elizabethtown’s Doug Brougher plans to be among the local viewers.

The longtime Beatles fan attended the group’s film fest in Columbus years ago. The only showing he missed? “A Hard Day’s Night,” which he has never seen in the theater.

“I realize it was shot in black and white just for budgetary reasons,” Brougher said of the seven-week shoot on an estimated $500,000 budget.

“Looking at it now, I can see glimpses of a Britain still trying to come out of some of its post-war depression. They just didn’t have a lot then. Bob Dylan mentioned that, when he was there in 1962, people were struggling with a severe coal shortage in the middle of a (brutal) winter.

“The Beatles were seen as a breath of fresh air. They were seen as a good escape,” Brougher said.

Throughout the film, they also are literally seen as a “band on the run” — about a decade before Paul McCartney, with his new group, Wings, recorded a song by that name in 1973.

The Beatles run through a train station, a field, and seemingly all over in “A Hard Day’s Night.” Such frenetic funniness spawned a comparison or two, according to YES Cinema staffer Ron Adams, a longtime Beatles fan.

“Some critics saw the film as a kind of throwback to a Marx Brothers’ film,” Adams said. “But I think what amazed the critics was actually how good it was. Because there had been musician movies in the 1950s with artists such as Chuck Berry. And those were terrible. They were thrown together.”

The Beatles humor is sometimes marked by corny quips. For instance, a reporter asks John Lennon, “How did you find America?”

“We turned left at Greenland,” he replied.

And there is this zippy exchange between a sensitive Ringo Starr and McCartney.

“Do I snore, Paul?”

“With a trombone hooter like yours,” McCartney responded, “it would be unnatural if you didn’t.”

The love for “A Hard Day’s Night,” which included hits such as “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “All My Loving,” seems to have grown over the years.

Director Richard Lester was given a 1984 award by MTV, declaring him “The Father of the Music Video.”

Brougher suggests that new viewers watch the screen closely.

“There often seems to be,” he said, “all kinds of funny things going on in the background.”

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