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on February 26, 2015
Love, love, love this film. I can't say enough to praise it!!

However, this release is imperfect. The stereo sounds a bit muddy and the picture is cropped though not quite as bad as the Criterion release. Why is it so hard for distributors to release this classic uncropped?

As for how this compares to the Criterion Collection version, it all depends on what you're looking for. The Criterion release is better restored and has better sound, and is less expensive. However, this version is less cropped. It also has more extra features. I prefer the Criterion because of the restoration but to each his own as they say.
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on November 26, 2012
I recently received the Blu-Ray, but this review applies equally to the Miramax DVD of "A Hard Day's Night." (In fact, the Blu-Ray is made from a video transfer of the DVD, as opposed to an original film source, and so preserves the digital "jutter" that comes with transferring film to video. If you have the DVD, it is truly not worth the investment to upgrade to Blu-Ray.)

As to the film itself, I would like to address the sound issues discussed by previous reviewers. Yes, in an age where we are all used to hearing the digital upgrades to the studio recordings on modern sound equipment, the sound will seem muddy. When a source close to the project said "blame Apple," he meant that the Beatles' licensing company had insisted that, from now on, the soundtrack must be authentic. The 5.1 soundtrack on the DVD and Blu-Ray does modify the sound (and previous calls for an alternate original mono track should be heeded), but is made entirely from the original film track. When songs begin, the sound is moved off of the center channel and out to the left and right channels. A very slight delay is added to the rear channels to provide a sense of depth, but it does not come off as added echo. (The reverb added to "Tell Me Why" was also on the original soundtrack album - along with a good deal of left to right panning!) Basically, the tracks remain in their original mono, and, more importantly, in their original movie mixes.

Aside from the obvious single-tracking of Paul's vocal on "And I Love Her" and John's in the intro to "If I Fell" (which, by no intent of the Beatles, became the mixes used on the U.S. single of those two songs), there are other, more subtle changes in the mixes made to accommodate the film. (Guitars are brought forward when the camera is on them, the drums when it moves in on Ringo, and so on.) There are also sound effects which were lost when stereo versions were substituted (such as when John knocks over the music stand during "And I Love Her.")

In short, the sound may not be up to the albums we listen to at home, but it is what we heard in theaters in 1964 (if we could hear it at all over the screaming!)

As to the picture, the widescreen video does cut off a small bit of the top and bottom of the picture we saw on the VHS tape, while showing a silght bit more on the sides. It should be remembered, though, that the film was shot and framed for widescreen viewing. (Note how the credits are placed far from the top and bottom of the screen. There is also no feeling of cut-off heads or action missed offscreen.) Widescreen was the norm in theaters in 1964, and most theatrical prints were made to accommodate them. We did not watch a square picture in theaters when we saw the film in 1964 - we watched the Beatles explode across the wide screen! The square picture on the MPI VHS version was a nice accommodation for square TV's, but the widescreen on the current release is far closer to the original presentation. And plugging in the stereo versions of the songs may have been a sonic upgrade, it was a move away from what the producer created.

I wish that the Blu-Ray had been an actual 24/fps transfer from a film source, and I wish that an alternate "true mono" soundtrack had been provided - but all in all, it's an excellent presentation the original film in its original form. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
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on September 29, 2017
My First Amazon direct video purchase, I have seen the movie a few times before, but this version is the best. Excellent sound mixing and the streaming was on que. Lots of options and of course the music is on par with Beatlemania. This was released in 1964, the launch pad for the next two years of how the British Invasion was shaping up. This movie captured for a few minutes (90) the fun of what the lads were about in the early years. The artistic direction of Can't buy be love sceene was to me the first "drone shot". So you know they were just thinking out of the box as the Beatles were just that. Even on the train playing cards doing the "Liverpool shuffle" then switching to " Playing" and Great fun time just watching and listening to the music. You can tell the real and rehearsed music scenes and just how much fun John, Paul, George and RIngo had while making this movie. From the opening chase scene to the BEA TLES helicopter a fun piece of musical and playful pop. Lots of English dialogue and slang that still boggles the mind and ears today. This restoration is worth the price of admission and is a keeper!
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on July 24, 2014
This is the definitive version of the movie, for me. Finally someone has given this movie the treatment it deserves. The restored picture is pristine and the soundtrack is much better than the previous "remastered stereo" versions. For me this movie is so much about the song soundtracks than anything. Ultimately, I still prefer the old soundtrack, because it seems they have perhaps somehow used current technology to merge the stereo and the mono versions (??) to make them work better with the song segments during the movie. When I listen to those old mono mixes of the songs (from the actual album and the UA soundtrack album) they will always sound the best to my ears but the newer audio, (which gives you an option of either: 5.1 surround, stereo, and mono) does capture the spirit of the song segments much better and transfers from the songs to the dialogue much better than the "remastered stereo" attempts from before. They are synched up well also, even though that renders the songs to be a 1/2 tone lower and slower due to the fact that the original film was made with them at a slower speed. However, now gone is John's double tracked voice with the heavy reverb at the beginning of If I Fell, along with an attempt (on the stereo audio selection) to fix Paul's cracking voice on "was in vain." the second time through the chorus, but the soundtrack fits in there with the dialogue so much better and still sounds really great. If you've seen the movie as much as I have there's always things that you'll catch that you never saw before. Its timeless and so nice to finally have a treatment of the film that does this film justice.
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on April 29, 2013
"A Hard Day's Night" was written by Alun Owen, and directed by Richard Lester. It was released in 1964, at the height of Beatlemania. The documentary-style film chronicles the Beatles arriving at a theater, rehearsing, and performing in a BBC television special. At one point, the Beatles hold a press conference. Reporter: "How did you find America?" John: "Turn left at Greenland." Reporter: "Are you a mod or a rocker?" Ringo: "I'm a mocker." Reporter: "What would you call that hairstyle you're wearing?" George: "Arthur." Reporter: "Do you often see your father?" Paul: "No, actually, we're just good friends." Musically speaking, Ringo may have been overshadowed by John, Paul and George. In this movie, once Ringo steps out from behind his drum kit, he steals the show from the other Beatles! No film evokes memories of my childhood as much as this movie does. I vividly recall sitting in a movie theater, and listening to girls my age screaming every time one of the Beatles was on-screen. The video quality of the Blu-ray version of "A Hard Day's Night" was crystal clear, even seen by a misty-eyed, middle-aged man reliving his childhood!
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on January 26, 2015
my mother always said "your either an elvis man or a beatles man" i love both , and a hard days night is an all time favorite , i can watch it over and over . i notice something new almost every time . this dvd has outstanding picture and sound . on an upscaleing dvd player or a ps4 or 3 the music is phenomenal . i enjoy it so much . i'm getting old .but when i was a youngster in the sixties we listened to music all the time . there was no internet ,and only 6 channels on tv . it was simpler them . the beatles were and still are a rock and roll phenomena that has no equal ... except maybe elvis . hard days night rules .
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on August 28, 2013
First of all the packaging is nothing like what is shown in the description. It may be that the cardboard cover is missing or maybe never existed. The back refers to Canada film ratings.

Inside you get a Blu-ray disc that is not near as clear as the DVD. There are spots on the film, sort of like going to the movies back in the sixties ... Then, there is no scene selection. You have to watch the film beginning to end each time or fast forward. I played a small part on through my TV speakers so I can't comment on sound quality. No scene selection on the Blu-ray when included on the DVD, what gives there.

The extras included are interviews with non-Beatles. I don't even know if they had anything to do with making the original film.

Buy the DVD or wait for the Beatles organization to put this out on Blu-ray. This copy not worth the money.
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on December 28, 2015
What do you want from an old movie, not shot in HD? Be happy that they put it on DVD at all. There's only so much quality you can squeeze out of old tech. This is a great movie, and just like the old LP's, the Mono versions sound better than the stereo versions, because the bass isn't all out of whack. Multi track recording was a brand new technology back then, thanks to Les Paul. But they hadn't mastered it yet, so enjoy the mono, the film, and the music.
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on September 29, 2002
First up, the picture looks fantastic. Just like it did back in '64. Black blacks and white whites, the glare of that hot spotlight on Paul during "And I Love Her" into the cool shadow is transferred beautifully. And the extras, there are tons of them, from Richard Lester on down. View them complete or incorporated into the documentary on the making of the film. However, none of The Beatles partake in any of the supplements of this landmark film. George Martin gives a brief rundown, song by song, of the score.(His remarks on "And I Love Her" a song I would have thought to be completely up his alley, was a particular surprise.) But his honesty, ultimately, is most welcome. But not having any of the guys on camera or tape, gives the DVD another level of mythical satus, that in the end works in its favor. They're forever young, like James Dean, and Beatlemania can be revisited without the glare of your own age, or the suriving members, hitting you in the face on the way in or out.Some caveats though. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio, always a plus in my book. However, this is a rare example that works against the film. In the extras, clips from the film are shown full frame and the images are more involving as such. You're able to step inside the movie, immerse yourself and be totally involved. The easy solution would be to have both versions available on the same disc, a very common practice today. But that's not done here. For such a deluxe packaging, it's mystifying. And how about that packaging? Instead of the wonderful poster used in the UK, or the exitement of the one sheet used here in America, there's this bland, boring packaging that you have to look at closely to identify it as having anything to do with A HARD DAY'S NIGHT or The Beatles. There's an interview with the actress who had a scene with Paul on his excursion (each Beatle had one,which pointed out Ringo's lack of one) but it was cut before the film's premiere and sadly does not seem to exist. Only stills remain. Didn't they film "You Can't Do That" for the concert sequence? Richard Lester talks about cutting a number there, but doesn't say which one. I expected the extras to include "I'll Cry Instead" but that's not here either. Now to the big one, the sound. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT despite the talent involved, was a low budget quickie (Post production was a few weeks!!!!!) and the sound was always a problem. With the thick Liverpudlian accents and the rapid, and I do mean rapid dialogue (HIS GIRL FRIDAY plays like an Ingmar Bergman film after this) it always took at least three viewings to catch all the dialogue.And while the sound quality of the songs was always of a higher standard than the dialogue soundtrack, somehow the technicians got it good enough so that it blended to a whole. Here however the songs so obviously come from another sound source that you're thrown out of the picture when they start up. Also, even more disturbing, the high frequencies are rolled off, leaving the songs, with a bigger bottom end than top. To somebody's ears I guess this sounded good. Cleaner, more polished, perhaps. But I've never heard these songs sound like this, not even when I'd fool around with my equalizer while listening to the soundtrack. It takes away from the excitement of the score. I had expected something different from the sound, something on the order of the YELLOW SUBMARINE remix actually. But not this! While my memory of the film may not be exact, I know you didn't hear the complete fade out of the title song in the opening credits, I thought I remembered a bit of it being played as it blended with screams of the railway station girls,while the producing and directing credits are shown. Here the song ends abruptly as soon as John stops singing. It jarred me as being not correct, so I was on the "lookout" for any sound deviations after that. I'm all for cleaning up old soundtracks, some of these films can become pretty noisy in their old age, but you can go too far and wind up shaving off the "sound of the room" as is constantly being done with older films by people who are being paid to know better. This isn't really a problem here, but I'd rather have a small amount of "noise" on the soundtrack as opposed to that "dead quiet" soundtrack that removes frequencies from the film track so that it's aurally as quiet as films being made today. I'm "only" a consumer and I'm not supposed to know better. But I do. Five-star movie. Four-star DVD.
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on January 10, 2009
It's amazing how much of the Fab Four was captured in a low budget film that really has no plot, start or ending, cost less to make than their first record, and is about as Anti-Holly Wood as you could get[and the film was nominated for 3 Oscars]. Just a , "day in the life" sort of spontaneous quality that is full of energy, great music, and the innocence of the Beatles, before they became, "ARTISTS." [I can remember watching it in a theater and all the girls screaming-at a film!].I think many won't understand the movie or the impact of the Beatles because you almost had to be there to witness the start of a musical evolution, that's effects continue through today. Make sure you watch all of the extra material that was thrown in-it's amazing how much of the movie was literally, off the cuff or impromptu.
Add George Martin & Son's remix of a Beatle's Medly, "Beatles Love" as a companion and you really have a nice surprise in store.
Now if Paul can get permission from John & George's wives to release many Beatles songs never heard before, we will be in for much more of Lennon-McCartney's song writing genius, the best in music history which will span the past and presence into another revolution.
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