Most helpful positive review
215 of 234 people found the following review helpful
Far better than I hoped, from the reviews
on April 13, 2006
When I finally decided to consider replacing my old MPI VHS tape copy of A Hard Day's Night (MP 1064) with the currently available 2 DVD set, I read the reviews on this listing to see if it was really worth re-buying something I've only occasionally watched over the last twenty or so years. It's not that I dislike the movie - far from it - It's just that this is one of those movies I can only watch once in a while with interest. Which only means; it's dated, although in the best possible way. But I love it, and having it as a VHS cassette rotting on my shelf made no sense, so I looked into the DVD.
I knew this was one of the first DVDs released and I've heard some which sound pretty bad, generally due to excessive echo from a careless transfer. And after reading the reviews here, I was expecting the music to be trash. (I took the precaution of making a digital recording of the soundtrack of the tape.) Also screen-cropping was an issue. I prefer widescreen when I can get it, but if someone actually cut part of the image off, which is what at least one reviewer seemed to be saying, that's catastrophic. Needless to say, I did approach this DVD with extreme caution.
But I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. As for the sound, my dread turned to relief when I heard that the Beatles' music on this DVD sounds as clean and pure as I could hope, with my only beef being that it is rendered in mono, rather than the "hi-fi" stereo of the VHS. But strangely, I found that in this case, mono works better. Instead of shifting from mono dialogue to stereo music, the DVD is completely mono, which makes for a more consistent viewing experience. For the performance section at the end, I believe a bit more echo was added to make it sound more "live." But as it's all studio tracks anyway, the alteration is somewhat justified and actually does add to the illusion you're listening to the Beatles perform, rather than lip-sync.
On the cropping; This DVD is in widescreen, which admittedly does make the image smaller and harder to see on the small screen. So why would anyone crop a movie to make it appear widescreen when it'd be better full? Profit? (So they could sell us another copy later on.) Possibly, but for some reason in this instance, I doubted it. What I did to check was pick an object in the movie close enough to the top of the full screen video that if it were cropped, would certainly not show up on the wide. I picked the helicopter propeller blades near the end of the movie, when you can see their top, before it takes off. I found that they were not cropped off on the DVD, although I'll grant it may be that they were closer to the top of the screen. But this may appear so due to the reduced size of the picture. In any case, if there is any cropping, it's not obtrusive.
So why all the carping? I'm going to guess because it's not the way you remember it. Take the fans' word for it, but for my money, the fact that I can actually hear what everyone's saying, plus the interviews, makes the DVD preferable.