I really don’t understand why, but, for whatever reason, the Beatles do have the tendency to put their films in and out of print. We all know they haven’t let Let it Be be released since the 1980s, back when it was available on SelectaVision, by all accounts, because seeing a band known for their happy music acrimoniously disintegrating before your eyes is really depressing, even if you already know the story. But their other four movies have been going in and out of print since the advent of DVD. They were all released on DVD in the late 90s, but they all went out of print, only to be supplanted by new editions, even though it took until 2009 for Help! to be re-released and 2012 for Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour to get released. A Hard Day’s Night has been the most consistently available of their films, but even then, it went in and out of print. Well, now, it looks like it’s being re-released this summer in time for the film’s fiftieth anniversary.
The film has been given a 4K digital restoration approved by director Richard Lester himself, and will be available in theatres and VOD at some point this summer, with a DVD and Blu-ray release to follow eventually. There appears to be some ambiguity as to when exactly this will happen.
From what I can gather, in Britain, the theatrical release will happen on July 4, with the home video release on July 21, but, in America, the DVD and Blu-Ray Combo pack will be released by the Criterion Collection on June 24, with no theatrical release date confirmed.
Anyway, according to the Criterion Collection Website, the DVD and Blu-Ray will both contain:
- Two audio options: the 5.1 dialogue/mono soundtrack option from the 2001 restoration, and (for the first time in decades) the original mono track.
- In Their Own Voices, a piece that combines interviews with the Beatles with behind-the-scenes footage and photos. (NEW)
- You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a long-unavailable 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson, presented by Phil Collins.
Features exclusive to the Blu-Ray combo include:
- Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew. (NEW)
- Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others. (From the 2001 DVD)
A new piece about Richard Lester’s early work. (NEW)
- The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film(1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan which was not on the 2001 DVD for some reason.
- Anatomy of a Style, a piece on Richard Lester’s editing style. (NEW)
- New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of several books about the Beatles.
- A Deleted scene.
There is no indication as to whether the many, MANY interview featurettes from the 2001 DVD will be available.