Next Tuesday, September 24, the Beatles' first film, "A Hard Day's Night" will be released as a special two-disc DVD. Beatles historian, Martin Lewis, spent 2 1/2 years conducting the 30 interviews that appear on the DVD. He recently talked to reporters about the project:"This film and the music mustn't be called nostalgia. In the last seven or eight years Beatles fans have become younger and younger. Now the majority of fans are 25 and under. They weren't born when the Beatles broke up. The Beatles have a timeless quality about their personalities and their attitude toward life, their aspirations. It has nothing to do with the '60s; it's about their individuality.The DVD's release will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Beatles record, Love Me Do.
"When 'A Hard Day's Night' came out the film critics understood something unique was going on there. Much of the credit for the film's success must go to director Richard Lester and writer Alun Owen. Remember, Paul, John, George and Ringo had never been in front of a 35mm camera before in their lives. Yet they delivered incredible performances, having never acted before. That's something you can't fake, and that's why this film is so timeless. Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, was one of two important people behind the camera, who insisted on quality, and Walter Shenson, the original producer, insisted on a fresh point of view from Lester and Owen. They didn't want it to be just another cheesy beach movie. That's why it became a hit and why it has remained so fresh today.
"I was given carte blanche by Miramax to put this DVD package together, but I don't think they expected me to come up with 30 interviews. I made sure that Lester and (music producer) George Martin would be heard. I even wanted the kid who did the scene with Ringo and the actress who did the scene with George to speak up. I got the hairdresser on the picture; nobody on the set was more important to the Beatles than Betty Glasow. She went on to become hair stylist on 'Titanic' and 'Harry Potter.' The people who worked on the picture found it an exhilarating experience and their memories are phenomenal.
"Derek Taylor, the Beatles' publicist, was my mentor. I asked him about the breakup and the messy squabble among the Beatles. Derek said, 'Although they didn't it plan it that way, the breakup was the best thing that could have happened to them. They never got to the point of being a nostalgia act. In retrospect the family had to grow and change -- and they had to get on with their lives.'
"It was just seven short years of enormous fame and the quantity of great material that they produced and their remarkable growth, insouciance, reverence, charm and passion remained until the end. They didn't like stuffiness or condescension. They had a playful joie de vivre, which remained present in performances, captured here in 'Hard Days Night.' Today's young audiences understand their irreverence and prove their music is forever delightful."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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