A Hard Day’s Night, directed by Richard Lester, is the Beatles’ best movie, which is not saying much. What says significantly more is that it is probably the finest screen comedy of 1964 (to me, it ain’t Dr. Strangelove). Alun Owen’s script is funny and witty, literate in a way the Beatles’ early-60s songs are not. But those songs—“And I Love Her”, “I Should Have Known Better”, etc.—make for a very engaging jukebox musical, with no missteps made in Lester’s smart “staging.”
I’ve seen this thoroughly English movie on both the big screen and DVD and, oddly, it has a way of making London seem small. So be it. A Hard Day’s Night is just for entertainment, and the Beatles themselves are not diminished.