The Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night, premiered on July 6, 1964 -- some 50 years ago. Because the movie's release came on the heels of the overwhelming success of the Fab Four in the U.S. in the first half of that year, many assume it was rushed into production to capitalize on the Beatlemania stirred up by the band's arrival in the U.S. in early 1964. There are many surprising elements to the story of A Hard Day's Night, however, not the least of which is that the contracts for the movie were signed before The Beatles had any hint of success in America, and that the movie itself was not initially considered the most valuable part of the deal. In fact, the entire project ended up paying off in unexpected ways, and far more richly and extensively than anyone involved in it at the start could have imagined.
In the late summer of 1963, The Beatles were quickly rising to the top of the pop world in England. After their first single, "Love Me Do," had made a respectable showing in the charts in late 1962, the next two records, "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You" had gone to number one in the first hal...
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