From a very biased standpoint, A Hard Day's Night is not only the greatest of the Beatles' films, it's also slightly melancholy — and not just because of the lonely Ringo plot line. Director Richard Lester and writer Alun Owen together re-created a typical day in the life of the band, and the individual Liverpool lads are charming and funny as they attempt to shepherd Paul's grandfather ("a clean old man") around town and get to a television studio for a live broadcast. But were they ever this carefree again? The world changed because of the Beatles, but the world changed them, too. Fame and, worse, celebrity made them more guarded, more circumspect in public, and the dynamic of the group changed. A Hard Day's Night captures the band members on the precipice, right before they leap into superstardom. Well, no point being too sad about it. The film still has the power to shock you with how normal and funny the boys were when they were still boys, and the music is as great as ever. A Hard Day's Night screens outdoors at 8:45 p.m. on the lake stage at St. Louis Union Station (1820 Market Street; 314-421-6555 or www.stlouisunionstation.com). Admission is free.
Fri., Sept. 5, 2008