Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
ON SITE: $25 for members, $35 for non-members
REMOTE CLASSROOM: $15 for members, $20 for non-members
Instructor: Paul McEwan, Ph.D., Film Studies Program, Muhlenberg College
Made quickly on a shoestring budget because no one was sure that The Beatles’ fame would last long enough for it to make back its money, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) shattered every expectation of what a jukebox film made for teen audiences could accomplish. Not only were fans more than eager to see their idols on screen—the surprise was that the critics loved it as well.
Critic Andrew Sarris later called it “the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals,” and it was nominated for two Academy Awards—not only Best Score (hardly a surprise) but also Best Screenplay. The latter is not exactly common for a film whose story is just a frame for the songs and the gags. But in this case the personalities of the four Beatles shine through, each playing slightly exaggerated versions of themselves and clearly having a good time doing it. Director Richard Lester would go on to have a long and varied career with films as disparate as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Superman II.
And then, of course, there’s the music. A Hard Day’s Night marked the transition to the rich middle period of The Beatles’ career, a four-year run in which they dramatically expanded the possibilities of what pop and rock could be. In the spring of 1964, though, that was still all ahead of them. They were simply a band grappling with incredible fame and the pressures it brought, without losing sight of their own camaraderie or the joy of singing in perfect harmony.
Just want to see the movie? See additional showtimes here.
Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those who attend the seminar on site at BMFI receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink.
Please note: There are two ways to attend in this seminar:
Please email BMFI education coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.