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Article Highlights:

  • When A Hard Day’s Night came out and what it’s about
  • Paul McCartney said The Beatles weren’t the best actors
  • But he had faith director Richard Lester could put something of quality together
A Hard Day's Night, lobbycard, The Beatles: (l-r): Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, 1964.
The Beatles (l-r): Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in 1964 | LMPC via Getty Images

A Hard Day’s Night was The Beatles‘ first movie. That being the case, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were all new to the whole feature film acting process. In an interview with none other than Harrison for BBC Radio, McCartney joked about the trouble the band was having adjusting to performing for the big screen.

‘A Hard Day’s Night’

The Beatles’ debut feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, came out in 1964. Directed by Richard Lester, the film earned $11 million and is considered one of the great rock-and-roll comedies of its time. A Hard Day’s Night is in the style of a mock documentary that shows a “day in the life” of the Fab Four.

“Over two ‘typical’ days in the life of The Beatles, the boys struggle to keep themselves and Sir Paul McCartney’s mischievous grandfather in check while preparing for a live television performance,” reads the IMDb synopsis.

Paul McCartney said The Beatles weren’t good actors and he waited until the last moment to memorize lines

While The Beatles were filming A Hard Day’s Night, the BBC had asked Harrison to host a radio show called The Public Ear, where he interviewed his bandmates. During one of those interviews, he spoke to McCartney about his experience filming his first feature film.

“The first film we ever made, and we’re having a good time,” said McCartney, as recorded in the book George Harrison on George Harrison. “We’re not very good actors, but we’re trying hard. That’s the most important thing, really—having a try, isn’t it?”


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Harrison agreed, that was, indeed, the most important thing. He went on to ask his bandmate if he’d had any trouble memorizing his lines.

“Well, actually, George, I’m a bit lazy about that,” said McCartney. “I normally learn them about 10 minutes before we do the scene, actually. I feel it gives an air of impromptu-ity.”

Paul McCartney on Dick Lester, a ‘bald’ but ‘great director’

McCartney only had kind things to say about the film’s director (well, mostly).

“Dick Lester’s directing the film . . . He’s a good fella,” he said. “He’s bald, but don’t hold that against him. He’s one of the nicest fellows I’ve met, and he’s a great director. I think he’s going to save the film in the cutting rooms. Great fellow, he is.”

Harrison asked for clarification. How, exactly, was Lester going to save the film from all that bad acting?

“Well you see George, the acting may not be very good, but if he can cut it up and slice it around and slop bits in here and slop bits in there, he may make it into a good film, you see,” replied McCartney.

And that’s exactly what he did.