Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy birthday, Richard Lester: "Their hair started growing during the movie."

Today is the 77th birthday of Richard Lester, who directed "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!"

Hat-tip to Roger Ebert, who wrote the following, 'way back when:

Lester had shot documentaries and TV commercials, could work quick and dirty, and knew he had to, because his budget was $500,000 for "A Hard Day's Night.''

In his opening sequence, which shows the Beatles mobbed at a station as they try to board a train, Lester achieves an incredible energy level: We feel the hysteria of the fans and the excitement of the Beatles, intercut with the title song (the first time movie titles had done that), implying that the songs and the adulation were sides of the same coin. Other scenes borrow the same documentary look; a lot feels improvised, although only a few scenes actually were.

Ebert again:

The film was so influential in its androgynous imagery that untold thousands of young men walked into the theater with short haircuts, and their hair started growing during the movie and didn't get cut again until the 1970s.

No comments: