Criterion Collection: A Hard Day's Night [Blu-ray]
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Meet the Beatles! Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. A Hard Day’s Night, in which the bandmates play slapstick versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed with raucous, anything-goes verve by Richard Lester (Help!) and featuring a slew of iconic pop anthems, including the title track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “If I Fell,” A Hard Day’s Night, which re-conceived the movie musical and exerted an incalculable influence on the music video, is one of the most deliriously entertaining movies of all time.
New 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with three audio options—a monaural soundtrack, as well as stereo and 5.1 surround mixes supervised by sound producer Giles Martin. Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew. In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos. You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson. Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others. New piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director. The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing. New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One. Deleted scenes. Trailers. One Blu-ray and Two DVDs, with all content available in both formats. Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Howard Hampton. More!
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Top Customer Reviews
As for this blu-ray release, a previous blu-ray release (released in 2009 by Alliance) was available, but is now out of print. It had 1080i video and 5.1 DTS HD-MA audio. The video and audio on that release was OK, but could've been better (mostly the video quality).
For this NEW blu-ray release from Criterion, the movie is getting a brand new 4K film restoration and a new 5.1 DTS HD-MA and PCM (uncompressed) mono audio tracks.Read more ›
The transfer is amazing and all the extras on this Criterion edition makes you appreciate the film that much more.
If you love this film, it is a no-brainer purchase and if you have no clue to what or who the BEATLES are/were then you MUST add this to your collection.... sight unseen... and you will NOT be disappointed.
The audio is very much clearer too, particularly the dialogue, at least if you listen to the stereo track. The mono track sounds like the optical soundtrack of the film, cleaned up some. I don't have a surround system, so I can't tell you about the surround. Thankfully, they avoided the gimmicky attempt to re-channel the music tracks, like on the previous Alliance release of A Hard Day's Night. The soundtrack on this Criterion DVD is done right, finally.
Just so you know...there's a mixing oversight during If I Fell. About 2/3 of the way through the song, Paul's backup vocal goes way out of sync. This is a flubbed vocal on the original recording, but was carefully mixed out of the original recording releases. I guess Giles Martin didn't notice this mistake. It's not too obtrusive though..really.
The movie still stands the test of time. Sure, it's from that mid-sixties era, with the swingin' hairstyles and clothes. But it's great fun, very entertaining, and moves along nicely.
The Feature Film:
An Almost Ideal Black & White Situation 'Picturewise':
Visually speaking, the Criterion Blu-Ray Presentation is positively STUNNING, with amazing depth and clarity, that to my eyes looks akin to viewing a near pristine 35mm Print! This is very simply, the best Visual presentation of this Classic that I've ever seen!
With that said, there are possibly a couple of visually related minor caveats. Upon rechecking my 2002 Miramax DVD, I noticed slightly less cropping on the top of the Screen during the A HARD DAY'S NIGHT Opening Titles at its 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio, than there is with Criterion's 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio Setup, though the former also has marginal cropping on the sides. From what I've read, Films during the early to mid 1960's were commonly released in the UK at the 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio, while 1.75:1 was more common in the U.S. during that same period. Thus, it appears that for the New Restoration, the U.S. Version prevailed. The second is only a possible caveat because I'm not certain that the A WALTER SHENSON PRODUCTION Introduction Card that only appears on the Miramax Version is original, though to my eyes, it does appear to be. In any case, I will state that in my opinion, the Criterion Version does seem to begin a tad abruptly (Only for the lack of any Pre-Opening!), though not enough to be jarring.
Overall Visual Evaluation: 9.5/10. I would have preferred the UK Aspect, and the original United Artists Opening Logo would have also been a nice touch.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
What Great memories and music by the Fab Four in the early days. Great Delivery , on time as promised.Published 7 months ago by Anna Tahatakis
Great picture and sound quality. However the image was cropped compared to other copies of this movie I have. Read morePublished 17 months ago by cigar
I know...it still a black and white movie...but what a definition, incredible. I remember few years ago TOSHIBA tried to do a colorized version and it didn't really get attention,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by louie duvall
As others have mentioned, this is essentially the same release as the one from about a decade ago. The picture quality does not bear anymore "cleaning up" due to the fact... Read morePublished 18 months ago by GtheK