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Repertory Picks

The Fab Four’s Big-Screen Debut in Santa Monica

This Saturday, Santa Monicans will have a golden opportunity to indulge their Beatlemania, as the American Cinematheque screens Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night for one night only. Made in 1964, on the heels of their U.S. breakthrough on The Ed Sullivan Show, the early mockumentary marked the film debut of the Beatles, chronicling a hectic London day in the life of the touring band, their attempts to elude mobs of fans leading them into all manner of madcap misadventures. Featuring a number of the Beatles’ catchiest hits, and infused with an infectious cinematic energy, A Hard Day’s Night is a gleefully anarchic look at the sixties as they just started swinging. “Under . . . Lester’s knowing eye, the Beatles and all the actors and extras seem less like ‘the cast’ than a group of more or less accidental coconspirators,” writes Howard Hampton in his liner essay for our edition of the film. “It’s as if the scattered cells of twenty-four-hour party people—beatniks, angry young men, frustrated young women, mods, rockers, ‘mockers,’ art schoolers, regular schoolgirls, nouvelle vague–istes, urbane scene makers, fashion mavens—were suddenly coalescing into a movement.”

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