(aka "Beatles No. 1" )

directed by Richard Lester
UK 1964

In 1964, the Beatles had just recently exploded onto the American scene with their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The group's first feature, the Academy Award-nominated "A Hard Day's Night," offered fans their first peek into a day in the life of the Beatles and served to establish the Fab Four on the silver screen, as well as to inspire the music video format. Songs: I'll Cry Instead, A Hard Day's Night, I Should've Known Better, Can't Buy Me Love, If I Fell, And I Love Her, I'm Happy Just to Dance with You, Ringo's Theme (This Boy), Tell Me Why, Don't Bother Me, I Wanna Be Your Man, All My Lovin', She Loves You.

 

The strikingly original classic captures all the fun, excitement, and unforgettable music of John, Paul, George, and Ringo at the height of Beatlemania. It's a wildly irreverent day in the life of the world's great rock 'n' roll band. As they prepare for a big TV appearance, the Beatles perform their songs, look for adventure ... and try in vain to keep Paul's mischief-making grandfather out of trouble ... all while avoiding hordes of screaming fans. Packed with all-time Beatle favorites including "A Hard Day's Night," "All My Loving," "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should've Known Better," "She Loves You," and "Tell Me Why," director Richard Lester's groundbreaking motion picture collaboration with the "Fab Four" is itself a treasured piece of rock history that remains influential to this day.

Promo Material

Theatrical Release: July 6, 1964

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Comparison:

MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Enrique B Chamorro for all the DVD Screen Caps!

PLACE mouse above above image!

1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

     

also available at a higher price from:

Distribution

MPI (OOP)

Region 0 - NTSC

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC

Alliance (Universal)

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 90 min. 92 min. 1:27:48.029
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.75 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.40 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080i / 29.970 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  22,024,090,758 bytes

Feature: 13,790,085,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes

Bitrate:

MPI (OOP)

Bitrate:

 

Miramax

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English dialogue DD 1.0 and songs in DD 2.0, French & Spanish DD 1.0

English DD 2.0, French DD 1.0

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3818 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3818 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, French English, none None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MPI (OOP)

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 1982 photo montage prologue set to I'll Cry Instead 2 min.
• British newsreel Beatlemania grips Gotham 1 min.
• British newsreel Beatles get show biz top award 3:45 min.
• 1981 Re-release trailer 2:22 min.
• MPI's trailer for The First US Visit 1:45 min.
• MPI's trailer for You Can't Do That! 1:45 min.
• MPI's trailer for Help! 2:37 min.
• MPI's trailer for Magical Mystery Tour 1:32 min.
• 9 text screens on the restoration process
• 6 text bios on the filmmakers & Support cast
• 60's Interview with director Richard Lester 3:22 min.
• Lester's short film Running, Jumping & Standing Still
• 4 page insert

DVD Release Date: 11/15/97
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 29

Release Information:
Studio: Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Documentary - Things They Said Today 36:16 min.
• DVD-Rom Features - Screenplay, Scrapbook, etc.
• 25 Featurettes on disc 2 - over 2.5 hours of short interviews
• Their Production Will Be Second to None: Interviews With The Filmmakers
• With the Beatles: The Cast
• Working Like a Dog: Production Crew
• Busy Working Overtime: Post Production Crew
• Listen to the Music Playing in Your Head: Sir George Martin
• Such a Clean Old Man! Memories of Wilfrid Brambell
• I've Lost My Little Girl: Isla Blair Interview
• Taking Testimonial Pictures: Robert Freeman, Photographer
• Dressed to the Hilt: Costume Design
• Dealing With The Men From the Press: Tony Barrow, The Beatles Publicist
• They and I Have Memories: Klaus Voorman, lifelong friend
• Hitting the Big Time in the USA: Sid Berman, promoter

DVD Release Date: 09/24/02
Digipack

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio:
Alliance (Universal)

1080i / 29.970 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  22,024,090,758 bytes

Feature: 13,790,085,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• "Things They Said Today ..." (36:18)
• "Their Production Will Be Second To None" -- Interviews With The Filmmakers (Director Richard Lester, Musical Director Sir George Martin, Associate Producer Denis O'Dell, Studio Executive David Picker)
• "With The Beatles" -- Cast (John Junkin, Lionel Blair, Kenneth Haigh, David Janson, Anna Quayle, Jeremy Lloyd, Terry Hooper)
• "Working Like A Dog" -- The Production Crew (Gilbert Taylor BSC, Paul Wilson, Betty Glasow, Barrie Melrose)
• "Busy Working Overtime" -- Post Production Crew (Pam Tomling & Roy Benson, Gordon Daniels & Jim Roddan)
• "Listen To The Music Playing In Your Head" -- Sir George Martin On The HDN Songs
• "Such A Clean Old Man!" -- Memories of Wilfrid Brambell
• "I've Lost My Little Girl" -- Isla Blair Interview
• "Taking Testimonial Pictures" -- Robert Freeman Interview
• "Dressed To The Hilt" -- Gordon Millings Interview
• "Dealing With 'The Men From The Press'" -- Tony Barrow Interview
• "They And I Have Memories" -- Klaus Voorman Interview
• "Hitting The Big Time In The USA" -- Sid Bernstein Interview

Blu-ray Release Date: September 9th, 2009
Standard Blu-ray inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Alliance (Canada) Blu-ray - September 2009: I'd like to be brief but there are a few details that must be mentioned. Firstly this is an interlaced transfer (1080i) from Alliance. It, hence, exhibits 'combing' or 'trailing'. It's the same 1.66 aspect ratio as the Miramax CE DVD and looks to be the same transfer excepting it is now in HD. Meaning it has the same slight speckle and dirt imperfections. If I was forced to guess I'd say that Alliance took the Miramax transfer and bumped it to HD - it even starts with a Miramax logo.

Image: It seems lighter, detail may be marginally improved but really it is the increased resolution working - i.e. the larger it is displayed the more this will be evident. Black levels aren't as pronounced as on the CE DVD but everything else looks superior. The 'combing' is imperceptible in motion but it still indicates that this is not the best transfer possible. This Blu-ray is single-layered and the feature takes up a puny 13.8 Gig but the video bitrate is more than double the 2002 DVD although could also improve. My opinion is it certainly looks better than the DVD - at times, much better. Grain is overshadowed by noise - especially in monochromatic black backgrounds. Obviously, the visuals could still advance much further in this format. This dashed my expectations but I've been in the woods before with Alliance - it's hit or miss - mostly miss - so I wasn't that surprised.

Okay - let's get to the important part - the audio. I'll admit this is the feature that I have the least confidence in reviewing. I don't really have any quantitative way of comparing. It's up to my crusty ears. I'll say this though - it sounds tremendous. We've been given a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3818 kbps. This is the best I have EVER heard these classic Beatle songs. I threw-in with my old CD - no comparison whatsoever. I know the re-mastered Beatles CDs are coming out soon (in both a Mono and Stereo Boxsets), but I'd be surprised if they sound as good as this lossless Blu-ray audio. It was exporting audio closer to SACD in my opinion. If I Fell, Can't Buy Me Love and And I Love Her particularly sounded exceptional but it was hard not to notice the buoyancy on all the songs although demonstrative separation is limited. This alone may be worth the purchase of the Blu-ray for some. I intend to take it to a friend's house for a second opinion. I'll report back here. As it stands I was blown away although I admit I am no serious audiophile. There are no subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

NOTE: Warning the default audio is a standard 5.1 at 448 Kbps (???) - you'll have to change it to the DTS-HD!

The Blu-ray includes most of the supplements from the CE package including  the 36-minute "Things They Said Today ..." and dozen shorter featurettes. We miss out on a few other less consequential bits and pieces and none of the Blu-ray extras are in HD - although there is some benefit to having them all on the same disc as the feature.

This package is far from ideal and we can only give a recommendation for the audio which turned out to be a wonderful surprise. I've played it all day for the songs but let's hope it surfaces by another 1080 production house soon.

Gary W. Tooze

***




 

ON THE DVDs:

Aspect Ratio Per IMDB;
1.37 : 1 (negative ratio)
1.75 : 1 (intended ratio)
MPI 1.33:1 vs. BV 1.66:1


The MPI
being an Open Matte print offers more information in the frame (top and bottom), while BV offer a little more on the left and much more on the right side.

BV extras are almost too much, with interviews of everyone and anyone who is not a Beatle! The menus for BV are beautifully animated. MPI's menus are static, but the limited extras are only available on MPI. Subtitles on MPI are summarized but not on the songs. Subtitles on BV are spot on and even provided on the performance of songs.

End of the day, keep your old MPI and get the new one by Miramax.

For a quaint supplemental disc, get "The Making of A Hard Day's Night" hosted by Phil Collins, a short made for TV doc. sold by MPI but OOP.

 - Enrique B Chamorro

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT – The MPI version is, save the MPI trailers, the same materials used for the transfer and supplement section from the 12” Criterion double LaserDisc set.  MPI did the DVD when Criterion was still not involved with the format.  In both cases, the film print is from the 1981 re-issue with the always-awful Dolby A-type analog stereo surround remix by producer Walter Shenson, which was bad on the Criterion version, and even worse in the recycled (and further compressed) Dolby Digital 2.0 from MPI.  The film was restored a few years ago and Miramax issued it theatrically in Dolby Digital only, then Apple Records rejected a 5.1 mix that may or may not have been used theatrically, with the Miramax DVD of course does not have anything above Pro Logic surrounds (and no center channel?).  They only kick in during the music numbers, making for a great disparity between those moments and the rest of the film.  Note the good black and white quality from the Miramax version versus the greenish MPI recycle.  The 1.66 was the way to go to get better picture quality versus doing a full screen image, already seen on the MPI version, albeit greenish.  The new print, along with the still-to-be-issued-on-DVD HELP! (1965, EastmanColor) were restored frame-by-frame for preservation purposes at the time.  With 6.1 configurations we now have and that the music from HELP! (both The Beatles songs and George Martin’s instrumental score) were recorded in the more authentic stereo of the time, so the choices made when that DVD arrives will be something to see and hear.

Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

 


DVD Menus

(MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

Featurette Supplements found on the Miramax DVD and the Blu-ray

 

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MPI (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Miramax
DVD Box Covers

 

also available at a higher price from:

Distribution

MPI (OOP)

Region 0 - NTSC

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC

Alliance (Universal)

Region 'A' - Blu-ray