Day 245: A Hard Day’s Night 1964 + ‘The Synopsis is a Film’s Greatest Disservice’

A Hard Day’s Night 1964

There are so many things to like about A Hard Day’s Night (1964) but if you loved movies and loved the Rolling Stones or loved movies and didn’t like The Beatles, it would be hard to appreciate the really truly deeply excellent qualities of the film.

To get the negatives out of the way first, the story is slim such as it is and the film doesn’t have perfect lip-syncing. Other films which collected numerous Oscars or would have been made for millions of dollars around the same time were also guilty, however. Perfect lip-syncing and perfectly-told stories had been done hundreds of times by Hollywood for thirty years. But this film wasn’t made by Hollywood or by a Hollywood director. Richard Lester had two modest features to his credit, each running around 80-minutes. His biggest credit and claim to fame was 5 years earlier, with an 11-minute film which Peter Seller and Richard Lester co-created, starring Spike Milligan and Leo McKern and themselves: The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959).

What it does well is have the Beatles make fun of themselves and their image, show a day in the life of the Beatles (it’s like a documentary at least half the time) and create some bizarre, but beautiful visuals to accompany their songs while giving a big screen experience of the Fab Four in close-up. Lots and lots of close-ups.

As David Stratton commented before starting the film, it gives an understanding of, “What people were really interested in, in 1964.” What a cool statement and understanding of the film’s importance and iconic value. IMDB states that the premiere was 6 July 1964 and it opened in UK cinemas the following day. Who knows if it is true but there are a lot things that are true, but maybe not correct, on the IMDB.

[To defend the incongruity of my statement, I need to emphasise that a lot of information about movies on the IMDB is factual as it comes from biographies and autobiographies and directors commentaries.

It was written and it was said but just because the words were published, recorded, or were stated with a mind recalling events from years ago, doesn’t actually make them true. An underrated film released in 1982 addressed that same situation in the words of the advertising campaign,

“Suppose you picked up this morning’s newspaper and your life was a front page headline…

And everything they said was accurate…

But none of it was true.”

Because any given article by journalists and reporters has an Absence of Malice (1981) it wasn’t something for which anyone had to be held accountable.]


‘The Synopsis is a Film’s Greatest Disservice’

Today, my Dad and I went to see a film that was high on the list (a very short list) of the films he wanted to see in a cinema. I have a magic movie pass that gets me-plus-one to see a movie that is free to me and my guest – “it’s like voodoo” as my wife described tonight with Rick and Anne about our first date, seeing the bleak film The Italian, set in a Russian (was it Siberian?) orphanage – that gets my Dad or anyone to see, any film he wants to see for free as long as he’s with me which he now chooses not to do, as he no longer wants to be the man who can in any given day see three films free with me.

On Wednesday my father saw Three Billboards (2017) while I saw Molly’s Game (2017). The week before I saw I Tonya (2017) while he saw the Darkest Hour (2017). The night before I saw the Darkest Hour with my friend called Larry. The week before I saw del Toro’s Shape of Water (2017), again with Larry, so we could see the Oscar nods before the Oscar show. Two hours before my Dad saw Billboards (2017) I saw Lady Bird (2017) and crowed that I had seen the very best supporting act-or-ess (Laurie Metcalfe).

The film, today, we saw – my Dad and I – was called, The Greatest Showman (2017). The title put me off. I cared less if it started, ran and vanished. I don’t like circuses. Or Tod Browning’s show of Freaks. It’s not my kind of thing to see the people not so welcome in the most important parts of life where people feel accepted or summarily rejected due to colour, disposition, race or creed, because they’re not elected by anyone that matters.

If I described the plot of this and many other films, the corniness would be so great you’d hate the parts that fit the history of everything that grates upon the people lacking wherewithall to understand and then accept that everyone comes in different shades of red and white and blue and green and purple, orange, mauve and brown and grey and beige and most of all just yellow, bellow, schmellow.

And I must say in every way the film was full of crazy things, and things which shouldn’t work at all and scenes they’d (maybe) cut from other shows, Les Mis for instance, which they’d now inserted here.

The thing I liked was the thing that they most vigorously tried to include – that people rich and poor and green and blue and red are to be accepted as much as people who are black and white or dead. Or almost dead. Or┬ámay be dead very soon. Like, Now! Not that I want certain people to die! Although… homicidal maniacs and serial killers – they are bad people and there’s an argument that they should die… And an argument that they should live – should always be allowed to keep breathing but, do that breathing, imprisoned.

Rascists, bigots, Nazis, neo-Nazis and people of the press – journalists, reporters, bloggers and anyone that feathers their nest with telling lies or spreading rumours just to increase circulation, advertising, sales or earn a buck.

To clarify, I do believe in circulation when it is about spreading blood around the body to enable life or when it is about recycling anything except bad dogma.

So, “Hey, you with the bad dogma, stop circulating it. You know who you are. Stop it.”