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Movies: “A Hard Day’s Night”

July 6, 1964 - Opening today is “A Hard Day’s Night,” a musical comedy starring the Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The film, directed by Richard Lester, was written by Alun Owen — who spent time with the group to pick up their verbal mannerisms — and released by United Artists. It portrays 36 hours in the lives of the group as they prepare for a television performance.

The script comments cheekily on the Beatles’ fame. For instance, at one point a fan played by Anna Quayle apparently recognizes John Lennon, though she cannot put a name to the face, saying only “You are….” He demurs, saying his face is not quite right for “him,” initiating a surreal dialogue ending with the fan, after she puts on her glasses, agreeing that Lennon doesn’t “look like him at all,” and Lennon saying to himself, “She looks more like him than I do.”

Other dialogue is derived from actual interviews with the Beatles. When Ringo is asked if he's a mod or a rocker, he replies: “Uh, no, I’m a mocker,” a line derived from a joke he made on the TV show “Ready Steady Go!”

Despite the fact that the original working titles of the film were first “The Beatles” and then “Beatlemania,” the group's name is never spoken in the film. Filming began on March 2 and ended on April 24.


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