Saturday, January 25, 2003

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I got an unexpected cash birthday gift from the In-laws the other day, so I went out and bought the new DVD release of A Hard Day's Night.

The film has lost none of its manic energy and charm in this spiffed-up reissue. The Boys are there, in all their moptopped glory, little suspecting what lay ahead just a few short years later. The picture quality is crisp and clean, and looks nice. And the bonus features are manna from heaven for Beatles fans. Although the surviving Fabs didn't participate, they interview just about anybody else they could find that was part of the making of the movie, from the Beatles' tailor's son to Sir George Martin himself. I especially enjoyed the interviews with Klaus Voormann, longtime Beatle friend and John & Ringo's bassist on their best solo albums as well as an excellent illustrator and designer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the actor that played the TV choreographer was none other than one Lionel Blair, who also played Harry Charms in Absolute Beginners!

But (like Pee-Wee Herman said in Big Adventure, "Everyone I know has a big but")...the sound is not so wonderful. Apparently someone decided it would be a good idea to lift the songs from the film's actual mono sound mix, remaster and punch them up, making them louder than the rest of the film's soundtrack. A minor quibble in the grander scheme of things, but it's very distracting. Between this and the atrocious remaster of John Lennon's solo album Mind Games, 2002 was just not a very good year for Beatles remixes.

Still, it's a very nice package, all things considered, and I'm happy happy happy to have it in my posession. I read somewhere where Let It Be will receive this treatment soon. While I have my concerns about the mix, and can't really say that I enjoyed the movie all that much, I'll still be looking forward to seeing it.