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Richard Lester's film A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Richard Lester's film A Hard Day's Night (1964) is a narrative film and not a documentary, though it makes use of the methods of cinema vTritT and other documentary techniques to add a level of realism that becomes itself a subject of humor in the film. Ostensibly, the film follows the Beatles in the course of a day. The four play themselves and are seen preparing for an appearance, interacting with managers and others, and being pursued by screaming fans. Yet, this is not a documentary at all. It is a scripted film with a narrative structure and with created scenes rather than scenes observed by an indifferent camera. The documentary look of the film is used to enhance the effect of the comedy, to provide a sense of realism against which the action is played, and to bring the viewer that much closer to the characters of the Beatles as they are portrayed in this film.

The cinema vTritT approach was not new with A Hard Day's Night, though it was not commonly employed in comedy. In this film, though, director Richard Lester was dealing with a cultural phenomenon, a real group of four young men who had achieved enormous success, popularity, and recognition for their music and who were now capitalizing on that success in the cinema. Lester's use of documentary techniques takes the viewer directly into the world of the Beatles and creates the impression that the film being watched is a real account of their lives. At the same time, Lester undercuts this and brings out a wildly comic flair by playing against the documentary conventions at the same time.

The film begins with a credit sequence that borrows heavily from the documentary and that in many ways sets the tone for true concert documentaries to come by showing a number of quick cuts and short bits in succession, introducing the characters and the situation as the boys are chased by fans as they try to get to the train station. The cinema vTritT feel of the film is e...

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Richard Lester's film A Hard Day's Night (1964). (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:14, April 22, 2019, from