So, Attack on Titan came to the Alamo this week, and since I was going to see it anyway, I volunteered to review the live-action film, based on an anime, based on a Manga. I’ll talk about the film itself a little later, but first some background on the story.
Before I begin, I feel like I have to say it. The Beatles are ‘not’ the best band of all time. Not saying who is, but for me the Beatles might actually be overrated. Now, my mini-bio says I’m a self proclaimed anglophile so I should automatically love the Beatles, right? Not necessarily, but A Hard Day’s Night is definitely my favorite Beatles without question.
A Hard Day’s Night was filmed and released in following the Beatles’ burst and exploding
popularity in America which started on February 7, 1964 when they boarded a plane in London’s Heathrow Airport and stepped off said plane at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Filmed nearly chronologically in March and April of the same year, the film was released on July 6, 1964 along with a new album of the same name with songs played during the film. There’s plenty of documentaries on the nitty gritty about the film itself with all the usual tidbits I’ve pointed out about other films in the past. This time though I wanted to pass on some observations.
The first related to my opening statement about A Hard Day’s Night having my favorite Beatles. At this point in their careers, the Beatles were all in their early to mid-20’s. This is before Sargent Pepper, before Yoko (apologies for setting off the alarm), before their introduction to Bob Dylan, before the blending of international sounds into the sound and repertoire of the band, and far before Phil Spector’s ‘wall-of-sound’. They’re 4 guys in their 20’s full of energy, wit, and happiness at just being where they are. Being washed along with the fun because it means they get to do more.
Think of some of your favorite bands, and you’ll likely notice how many of them follow that same theme. First album is incredible, so energetic and they’re so happy for others to like what they’re doing. By the fourth album though, it may be 10 years on and what used to be 20 something band members have spouses, kids, and a lot more to juggle. They spend much more time on introspection and being a parent. Songs with spark and energy about falling in love and being happy slide into melodramatic songs about legacy and generational values. Hard Day’s Night has none of that later moroseness. It’s all about being in a “train and a room, and a car and a room, and a room and a room.” as Paul’s Grandfather says in the film. The plot is centered around that immediacy of fame that the band was encountering.
Another thing that keeps cropping up throughout the film is the generational struggles between the older adults, primarily authority figures, and the band which got me thinking about the older character’s perspective of the younger characters. Much of A Hard Day’s Night is told from the perspective of the band, but there’s loads of dialogue from older characters that emphasize the older generation’s frustration in trying to understand the fads that the youth are obsessing over. Older adults at the airport, train station, on the train itself, or even the police can’t understand why these 4 lads don’t stop acting like fools and just what the fuss is all about. Even the band’s manager takes John’s aloofness, restlessness, and tendency to evade control as a personal affront to the manager’s own mental health.
And finally the last thing I’ll note is the audience in the film. Not sure if the director and/or production crew insisted on it, but in the audience watching the Beatles perform in either the train-car, during rehearsals, or at the broadcasted performance at the end of the movie, none were singing along. Since that’s so much a part of many concerts today (or even movies, as I overheard some fellow audience members singing along, and couldn’t help own self) that I wonder when we collectively switched from singing along at home to our LP’s, tapes, and/or CD’s but not in person at the show to singing everywhere. Just a thought.
So, in conclusion, A Hard Day’s Night is a really fun film. There’s sight gags, one-liners, disguises, and even a walkabout. Not loaded with Oscar winning performances, but then you don’t go to the Beatles for high drama, you go to them for fun, and A Hard Day’s Night certainly is.
When he’s not driving to work, has his hands in his car and/or house, or is attending Film Club events as an #Awesome13 & #Sweet16 alum, Benjamin can be found listening to podcasts and hoping to start his own one day. Reformed Trekker; self-identified Anglophile; Anime fan by way of Akira, Ghibli, & Gundam; and admitted Yankee. You can find him on the Film Club Facebook page arguing about reserved seats & interpretation of recent Film Club screenings.
So you heard that The Hustler is playing at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester on Sunday. Aside from the discounted price of $5.00 and Andy’s goodwill for picking great movies, what should one expect from a Black & White film from the early 60’s about pool players in New York City? Oh, and there’s a love story in there too? Well, in hopefully what will be a regular feature, I’m going to share some of what I dig through to prepare for the Film Club screenings I’m not already familiar with, but yet may be at least somewhat interested in.
It all begins with a plant. When possible, farmers in Turkey made more than drug companies were legally paying them for, so that they could sell it to the criminal underworld for some real money, the same cartels who then shipped those plants to France where chemists essentially distill an already potent paste into the the drug heroine. Of course I’m talking about the poppy, and this vibrant plant is merely the first thing that threads La French (released in 2014) with it’s predecessor The French Connection (released in 1971). Both films refer to the ubiquitous connection of distribution channels between France and the United States, spanning the decades from the 30’s to it’s height in the late 60’s (when The French Connection is set) into it’s blossoming decline that started in the early 70’s (when La French is set).