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Beatlemania on the big screen

Posted on June 10, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The incomparable songs and singing of The Beatles, for It’s a Hard Day’s Night, are of course sublimely perfect. But for the 1964 film, know-it-all movie execs wanted the lads’ thick Liverpool speaking accents dubbed by more neutral voices. Paul McCartney refused. “Look, if we can understand a cowboy talking Texan, they can understand us talking Liverpool.”

The film joyously exploits the breaking wave of Beatlemania, with lots of soon-to-be hit songs, and director Richard Lester shows the band, as themselves — clever, irreverent kids cavorting around swinging, Beatle-mad London. Though nominated for a best screenplay Oscar, the film seems raw and improvised — a goofy, charming, eccentric kick.

Just as the band would come to dominate popular music, Lester’s cinematic stylings (hand-held camera, quick cuts, jerky edits) was quite influential, prefiguring the age of spy romps and music videos. Years later, when asked about “being the father of MTV,” Lester, who had a long, multi-genre career in British and American film, quipped a demand for a paternity test.

Monday, June 17. 7 p.m. $10. Sebastiani Theatre, 466 First St. E. Sebastianitheatre.com.

 



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