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Beatles Story celebrates A Hard Day's Night at 60

The Beatles Story is staging a special new exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of A Hard Day’s Night.

The Fab Four’s first film hit cinema screens in July 1964 with the soundtrack album released on July 10 – the same day a Northern premiere was held at the Odeon in London Road with the Beatles in attendance.

They also famously took to the Town Hall balcony with tens of thousands of fans thronging Castle Street to catch a glimpse of the band.

The Beatles Story’s 60 Years of A Hard Day’s Night exhibition has been inspired by Mark Lewisohn’s book The Beatles A Hard Days Night: A Private Archive which was based on the extensive archive of collectors Bruce and Martha Karsh, and has been made possible by the support of the couple.

Visitors can see original memorabilia from 1964, including a very rare copy of the A Hard Day’s Night album signed on the front by all four Beatles, as well as original movie posters, lobby cards and cinema tickets.

They step on to set and become immersed in recreations of key scenes from the film, with a platform at Marylebone Station recreated at the Royal Albert Dock attraction.

Above: A ticket for the Northern Premiere of A Hard Day's Night at the Odeon in London Road. Top: A cinema poster for the Beatles' debut film.

And the venue has also worked with tailor Gordon Millings to recreate the silver-grey suits worn by the Fab Four in the final scenes of the film, using the original patterns drawn in 1964.

The original suits were created as part of a collection of around 30 outfits for the movie by Millings and his father Dougie. Dougie Millings, whose business was next to the famous 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho, was known as “the Beatles’ tailor” and was also responsible for most of the suits the group wore until Sgt Pepper.

Gordon Millings explains: "Brian Epstein had seen suits that my father had made for people like Cliff and The Shadows, Billy Fury and Marty Wilde. He brought down Gerry and the Pacemakers first and we made them some suits.

"Then Brian said 'I'm coming down with my new group and I'd like you to outfit them'. I want something different'. That was The Beatles."

Above: Gordon Millings with the recreated suits from A Hard Day's Night.

The Millings went on to also design bespoke suits for other Epstein artists including Billy J Kramer and The Fourmost, as well as a couple for Epstein himself. But it was The Beatles who became their highest profile clients and the Millings would often visit Abbey Road Studios, and later the Beatles' homes, to arrange and carry out fittings.

Dougie Millings even ended up appearing in A Hard Day's Night.

Gordon Millings, who became friendly with all the Beatles and particularly Paul, says: "My father went to Twickenham Studios at nine in the morning to fit their suits. He was dressed in sombre black because he had a funeral to go to in the afternoon.

"Dick Lester the director saw him and wanted him in the film (as a frustrated tailor), so they added to the script and drew up a single page contract - I think he got paid £10.

"It was three quick scenes, although they got through a couple of tape measures. John had to cut the tape but in the first take he said 'I now declare this brothel open' and Dick Lester said 'cut'!"

Above: Dougie Millings appearing in A Hard Day's Night as a frustrated tailor.

Speaking about recreating the suits for the Beatles Story exhibition he adds: “Reviving the silver-grey suits has allowed me to honour my father's legacy and the lasting influence of The Beatles.

“By using my father’s original patterns and fabric from the same Savile Row supplier, as well as the original techniques used by my father and I in 1964, we've recreated the suits with great attention to detail. This collection of suits is a bridge between past and present, and I can’t wait for fans to see them.”

The Beatles Story’s general manager Mary Chadwick says: "Sixty years on, A Hard Day's Night still captures that special Beatles magic and the wild excitement of the Beatlemania era.

“We're really excited to unveil this special exhibition, where fans can relive the film's essence and see original memorabilia and meticulously recreated costumes first-hand.”

60 Years of A Hard Day’s Night is at the Beatles Story from today, and is included in the general entry price.


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