Richard Lester on A Hard Day’s Night

On Film / Short Takes — Jul 18, 2014

The annual Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy, has become the hottest showcase for the latest restorations of classic and overlooked films from around the world. So we were thrilled that they decided to show our restoration of Richard Lester’s landmark Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night—and that they did so on the festival’s closing night, July 5, fifty years nearly to the day after the film’s July 6, 1964, premiere in London. The festival invited Lester to attend, and he accepted. While in Bologna, the filmmaker sat down with Il Cinema Ritrovato’s artistic director, Peter von Bagh, for an hour-long talk about the film. Here are a few highlights from their conversation, in which Lester talks about making the film seem utterly spontaneous, creating “false idiosyncrasies” for the four bandmates, and working with a short postproduction turnaround to capitalize on the Beatles’ skyrocketing success.