A Hard Day’s Night

A Hard Day's Night

The uniquely discordant strum of a guitar introduces the now-iconic image of the Fab Four careening down a London-as-Liverpool street, chased by a horde of screaming young fans. George attempts to sneak a glance behind him, then loses his balance and careens to the ground, bringing poor Ringo down with him. John looks back to witness the instantaneous mayhem and continues running elated with laughter. This wasn’t a moment of acting or planning or choreography, but a purely spontaneous interaction between members of the most famous band in the world captured on film. The contrivance of the scene produced a “mistake” which then inspired a genuine, unpremeditated moment between the bandmates, a real glimpse at John’s interaction with (and affection for) his colleagues outside the trappings of unprecedented fame and millions of dollars in royalties. Throughout A Hard Day’s Night, director Richard Lester toys with the obvious contrivances of filmmaking, a façade made ever more evident by the fact that this film was an out-and-out cash grab. The bandmates played themselves in quotation marks, taking the piss out of fame, rock ‘n’ roll, Mod chic, mass media, the British aristocracy, and ultimately themselves, a caricature that ironically helped distinguish The Beatles’ individual members for American audiences. The manic irreverence of Lester’s brand of comedy regularly broke cinematic rules of continuity and logic, making for a less anarchic kind of Breathless. But perhaps what most consequently made A Hard Day’s Night the essential pop musical it is today is the fact that nobody – from […]


Lester Bangs

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Back to the Future Behind the Scenes

This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. Where do movies come from? At the risk of sounding like Lucas from Empire Records (although “What’s with today, today?” is a perfectly valid question), there’s something genuinely incredible about the spark that leads to a multi-million dollar piece of art, crafted by thousands of people that a massive audience can enjoy. Someone reads a book or hears a story or finds an old family heirloom in a basement. Someone wants to recognize a figure that made a profound impact on our world. Someone stumbles across an old idea or has a Eureka Moment in the shower. It all gets put through the ringer and ends up as the only source of light in a darkened room. So, yes, there’s a magic to it all. Movies take their ideas from anywhere and everywhere (including other works of art and other movies). To celebrate that, here are five great films made just a bit more incredible by exploring where they come from.


This is Spinal Tap - These Go to 11

Tune into VH1 Classics on any given day, and this is something you’re likely to see: a rock video of a mid-80s hair band playing on a giant stage, complete with sleek cinematography, wide camera angles, and a stadium-sized audience packed to the brim. At first you might be confused, thinking that this is possibly some Whitesnake or Guns N’ Roses song that somehow escaped your memory. But then the music video ends and in the bottom left corner the band’s name comes up. You’ve never heard of them before, and you’ve definitely never heard this song before. Yet this video depicts monstrous popularity that suggests nothing less than massive cultural phenomenon. While it’s possible for a one-hit wonder to develop this degree of renown for a certain frame of time, it becomes something of a schizophrenic moment when you consider that this hit single both inaugurated the now-forgotten band’s moment of popularity and depicted it simultaneously. With so many hair bands, how is it possible that every single one of them sells out stadium-size crowds? The answer, of course, can only be one thing: an association with mass popularity is, for hair bands, only a reality for the privileged few, but for the rest it’s a fabrication that’s all part of the musical aesthetic – it’s what makes this subgenre of rock that’s reliant on spectacle so spectacular. It’s fitting, then, that one of the landmark mockumentaries of American filmmaking chose as its subject a genre that itself relies […]


Rejec Radio Logo

This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Associate Editor Kate Erbland drops by to play Best/Worst and talk Found Fauxtage Films. Plus, we speak with author Ray Morton to get the whole story of why The Beatles made A Hard Day’s Night and we get a special announcement directly from Vimeo that will sound like sunshine to weary independent filmmakers. That is, the filmmakers who want to save some money. Download This Episode


Vintage Trailer Logo

Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. The Beatles are arguably the largest worldwide, music phenomenon of the 20th century. Their influence and skill cannot be overstated, and they are partially (alongside The Beach Boys) responsible for the past four decades of pop music (for better or for worse). But in 1964, they were just beginning their takeover, and part of their attack plan as a silly little movie that sees them channeling the Marx Brothers in between jam sessions. It’s absurd, but it’s also the least absurd movie they ever made. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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