Film Fridays is a project initiated by Sarah and I. After doing a daily music challenge for a month last year we talked about doing something similar for movies. The current global lockdowns give us the perfect excuse to start. Many of us are confined to home with only the TV for company so we thought we would start ‘Film Fridays’ so that we can talk about our favourite movies and hopefully give our readers some ideas for things to watch. If you join us please tag filmfriday and link back to one or both of us so we can read your own contributions!
We would be delighted if you would join us! We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in out hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.
Sarah and I have shared our lists and decided to tackle them as written – in my case in alphabetical order because I am sad like that….
My first selection:
‘A Hard Day’s Night’
This is an ideal first choice at the moment as it is such a joyful movie!
Conceived at the height of Beatlemania and released in summer of 1964, it served as both further promotion for the band (as if they needed it) but also designed so that their fans could see the boys at a time when their concerts were becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
It follows the Beatles through a fictionalised 36 hours of their lives as they travel to London to perform, deal with Paul’s wayward grandad (Wilfrid Brambell) and evade the hordes of excited young ladies throwing themselves at the band – a problem I, naturally, identify with 😉
The band, well known for their dry wit, are an engaging presence on screen and the results are very funny. They are ably supported by a great number of comic/character actors who were, themselves well known to British audiences.
It will come as no surprise that the soundtrack is superb! Though still in their ‘pop’ phase it starts to become evident how accomplished the band are as musicians and songwriters. That crashing chord that opens the title track is actually a really obscure chord and not easy to play. I just tried again on the acoustic guitar which is next to me as I write. I decided I don’t have enough fingers.
You can view the trailer here. If this does not work because of rights issues, try searching youtube from wherever you are.
I am not sure when I first saw this movie. I am guessing in the mid 80s when it was already 20 years old. I was just starting to appreciate the Beatles, though my first real exposure to them was on a school trip to Liverpool when I was 15 – purely by coincidence it was the day after John Lennon was murdered and the radio on the coach was non-stop Beatles and Lennon for the whole 2 hour journey.
Most recently a remastered version of this movie had a limited theatrical release for the 50th anniversary in 2014. I saw it on that occasion at our local art-house cinema and was blown away by how good it is. It has such a sense of fun and optimism and I left the cinema smiling.
This movie departed massively from the usual formulaic pop star movie vehicle of the time (look at Elvis Presley’s 60s movies for a start) in that it was a real work of art also; a proper movie. The cinematography is astonishing and inventive. Oddly, being in black & white makes it look less dated than many 60s movies and it captures Britain just as huge social changes were starting. Director Richard Lester, with this film, has been credited as influencing the style of many later 60s movies, as well as the Monkees TV show.