Preview: A Hard Day’s Night

The feature film debut from The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night captures the humor, exuberance and musical genius of The group at the height of the Beatlemania phenomenon. A special December 11 screening as part of the Music Movie Mondays series at Grail Movie House will be hosted by Asheville author and music journalist Bill Kopp.

In 1964, pop music wasn’t taken especially seriously (Nor, it should be emphasized, were pop musicians). Such things were considered ephemeral. Difficult as it might be to imagine, even The Beatles were seen as something of a flash in the proverbial pan. Even they thought so: asked in an interview how long they predicted it would be until the bubble burst, one of them replied, “Five years.” But as we now know, although The Beatles broke up in 1969, their impact upon music, pop culture and culture-in-general endures.

Canny observers must have had some sense of all this even in 1964, when The Beatles broke through globally. So it was that the four – all of them in their twenties – were signed to a motion picture deal. No actors among them, The Beatles were nonetheless seen as the perfect group to star in a film. And while said film could easily have been a teen-exploitation reel, The Beatles’ film debut had the good fortune to have been written and directed by people who actually got it.

Screenwriter Alun Owen went so far as to travel with the group from gig to gig, picking up ideas from the whirlwind lives that John, Paul, George and Ringo were living at the peak of Beatlemania. And director Richard Lester had no interest in making an empty-headed film. Add to that the fact that the four Beatles – especially drummer Ringo Starr – seemed remarkably natural in front of the camera. So it was that a classic was made: A Hard Day’s Night.

A Hard Day’s Night manages to be funny, clever, coherent and possessing of an almost documentary level of accuracy with regard to what Beatlemania was like. But above all, it’s fun. A rousing critical success, the black-and-white film made on a modest budget quickly became a major box-office hit. Nearly 60 years after its release, A Hard Day’s Night continues to delight audiences. And this special screening of The Beatles’ first feature film also presents a chance to watch the film with fellow Beatles fans. And a post-screening discussion led by author and music journalist Bill Kopp provides an opportunity to share thoughts and insight on the film.

As part of the Music Movie Mondays series, Grail Movie House in Asheville hosts a special one-night-only showing of the film. Presented by Asheville-based speaker, author and music journalist Bill Kopp, the evening will include a screening of the film followed by an interactive discussion.

WHAT: Music Movie Mondays Series: A Hard Day’s Night
Special screening + moderated discussion hosted by Bill Kopp
WHERE: Grail Moviehouse, 17 Foundy Street, Asheville
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 11 @ 7 p.m. / Tickets are $15 and likely to sell out!