Sunday, 29 March 2009

239: Theatricality: A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Written by Alan Owen

Well, most obviously there’s the chap at 5:42: - rather camply admiring, to whom Lennon responds: “Cheeky”. Importantly or not, he’s dressed up as an extravagant Regency fop, to set off his appreciation of the Beatles outfits.

Is the advertising executive gay? Slightly breathy voice, with a few duckies in there. General tone is ambiguous.

Then you have Victor Spinetti as the director. Somewhere between haughty and hysterical. Prissy, if you like, to contrast with the insouciant Beatles. Then as he goes off at one point with a young female in trail, there’s these comments from the lovable lads who set the whole world’s heart a-tapping.

JOHN: Ah, there he goes. Look at him. I bet his wife doesn't know about her.
RINGO: He hasn't even got a wife. Look at his sweater.
PAUL: You never know, she might have knitted it.
JOHN: She knitted him.

Of course, Spinetti is gay, so how much of it is deliberately camp mannerism, and how much is stress as portrayed by a somewhat already camp actor is debatable. Which is of course the "Biggins Scenario" – when you employ him, you’re deliberately opting for a specific range of camp effects – mummy’s boy, charmer, or sadistic loonie.

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