Comparison Of The Beatles "A Hard Days Night" To Elvis's "Jailhouse Rock".

1390 words - 6 pages

In February of 1964 four boys from Liverpool, England played on the Ed Sullivan Show and with them began the British Invasion. They of course were the Beatles. On the heels of the Beatles came bands like the Rolling Stones, Herman and the Hermits, the Who, and the Yardbirds to name a few. The Beatles began a phenomenon within their marketing appeal. In 1960, Elvis came back to his fans and appeared in a show with Frank Sinatra. After that, and after recording some remarkable songs like "It's Now or Never" and "Fame and Fortune", Elvis started to make movies and more movies. During his "Hollywood Era", few were the times he went to the studio to record songs that were not for his movies (Anonymous, 1998).Released in 1964, A Hard Day's Night captures the Beatles just after their first successful tour of America. When ``A Hard Day's Night'' was opened in September, 1964, it was a problematic entry in a disreputable form, the rock 'n' roll musical. It was clear from the outset that A Hard Day's Night was in a different category from the rock musicals that had starred Elvis. It was smart, cheeky, it didn't take itself seriously, and it was shot and edited by Richard Lester in black-and-white, semi-documentary style that seemed to follow the boys during a typical day in their lives (Ebert, 2003).The Beatles had a clone look (matching hair and clothes) but they contrasted it with the individuality of their personalities. The most powerful quality evoked by ``A Hard Day's Night'' is liberation. The long hair was just the superficial sign of that. An underlying theme is the difficulty establishment types have in getting the Beatles to follow orders. Although their manager (Norman Rossington) tries to control them and their TV director (Victor Spinetti) goes crazy because of their improvisations during a live TV broadcast, they act according to the way they feel. When Ringo grows thoughtful, he wanders away from the studio, and the recording session has to wait until he returns. When the boys are freed from their job, they run like children in an open field. The notion of doing your own thing lurks within every scene (Ebert, 2003).The majority of directors during the sixties used the traditional techniques of master shot, alternating close-ups, insert shots, re-establishing shots, dissolves and fades. Actors were placed in careful compositions. But directors like John Cassavetes had started making movies that played like dramas but looked like documentaries. Similar to John Cassavetes, Lester used light 16mm cameras, hand-held shots, messy compositions that looked like they might have been snatched during moments of real life. A Hard Day's Night was rebellious, goofy and had an infecting spirit (Ebert, 2003).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. As a member of the audience we can feel the hysteria of the fans and the excitement of the Beatles, intercut...

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