Hard Day's Night, A (1964)

A Hard Day's Night (1964), directed by Richard Lester.

A nearly plotless day in the life. Wacky boy musicians drive their managers and screaming fans mad. Beautiful composition and plenty of tunes, like an early music video. Constant quips and funny business (example: John snorting from a Coke bottle). Some of it is pretty lame, but never mind, off to the next skit.

Message? Youth vs age? Given the example of Paul's "other grandfather", it's more like irreverent fun-lovers vs the blue meanies.

This is pretty irresistible even for skeptics. Beatlemania is an insidious affliction.

They are so young: the early train sequence might as well be on the Hogwarts Express. John, Paul, George and Ringo are 24, 22, 21 and 24 here. Vast, continuing changes after this, and it was all over six years later.

I've never read a history of the group or biographies of its members, so I don't know what was going on behind the scenes. They obviously had huge talent, but also skilled packaging. How much of what we see was natural, and how much designed? The nonthreatening combination of rebellion and smarm?

Already we see their designated characters:

I notice the ecstatic girl fans each pick one name to scream.

I don't remember Elvis in the 1950s, but I was here for other pop sensations: Madonna and Michael Jackson, for example. But I have never seen anything like The Beatles. They seemed to change everything.

Criterion Blu-ray with an excellent image. The commentary track has what seems like a couple dozen people; I didn't stick with it.