Over the weekend I watched A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles’ first film. I’d seen it before, years ago. Watching it now, I was happy to see it was as silly and plot-free as I remembered, but in many ways it also surprised me.
- The movie has lots of surreal moments — jumps and shifts that are sort of goofy but maybe a bit more than that. John in the bathtub and then gone; the band in the train corridor and then running outside the train; John cutting the tailor’s tape. In the time between when I first saw this movie and now I’ve seen more film, particularly French film and film by bona fide Surrealists, so now I see better where the influences came from.*
- The music is of course amazing — but it’s even more so if you believe the movie’s producer when he says in the DVD extras that the band wrote the songs in the few months between when the three-picture deal was signed and when the production started shooting. The title track wasn’t even written until near the end of production, and it was written overnight. Makes my all-nighters look like wasted hours.
- The lads fell down a lot, especially George. And then they bounced back up and kept going, like Weebles. I mean, watch the opening sequence below: Happens 8 seconds in. Doesn’t that look painful? They do it a few more times during the movie. How George’s hands weren’t too bruised and scraped to play guitar I can’t understand.
- I knew that footage from the Beatles movies and TV appearances were the source material for the visuals in The Beatles: Rock Band, but I didn’t appreciate how closely the game mirrors the footage, and sometimes improves on it.
Next in my queue: Magical Mystery Tour. Yeah, I know, it won’t be as good. Still, must be done.
BONUS: I came across this while seeking out a suitable clip. Nicely done.
* My brother suggested that I should watch the Monkees TV show again, to see if I have a similar renewed appreciation for its surrealism. Excellent idea. But I was always a big fan of the Monkees, so it’s hard to imagine I could like them more than I already do.