'A Hard Day's Night' Premiered In London 50 Years Ago

The black-and-white film was a cheeky snapshot of the biggest band in history: The Beatles.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And here's our last word in Business today.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A HARD DAY'S NIGHT")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog. It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log.

INSKEEP: You hear the screaming in the background. "A Hard Day's Night" premiered at London's Pavilion Theater on July 6, 1964.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The black-and-white film was a cheeky snapshot of the biggest band in history, the Beatles. In a documentary about the making of the film, director Richard Lester said some of the most famous scenes, the ones with girls screaming and chasing the Fab 4 through city streets and train stations, were improvised.

(SOUNDBITE OF UNIDENTIFIED DOCUMENTARY)

RICHARD LESTER: I just thought we got a whole crowd of people, there's a lot of energy in here, and I shouted to the camera operator, give me the camera. He handed it to me, and I stuck it out the window as they approached the train running to get away from a real crowd, to get on to do their first day's shooting.

INSKEEP: The film was shot and edited and mixed in just four months. After previewing the final cut, studio executives wanted to re-dub it for American audiences. They worried the theater goers would not understand the Beatles' thick, British, Liverpudlian accent.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A HARD DAY'S NIGHT")

JOHN LENNON: Don't worry sir, we're getting the best lawyer green stamps can buy.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR 1: (As character) Ho, it's a laugh-a-line with Lennon. Anyway it's your fault.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR 2: (As character) Why Me?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR 3: (As character) Why not you? God, it's depressing in here isn't.

MONTAGNE: Oh, there is something there. Those accents couldn't stop Beatlemania. In fact, they improved upon it. Released just a month after the Beatles first appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," also 50 years ago, the film was a commercial and critical hit. It made more than $12 million in the initial release, not to mention a couple of Oscar nominations.

INSKEEP: And over this past July 4 weekend, "A Hard Day's Night" was re-released in theaters as well as DVD and Blu-ray. And that's the Business News on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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