Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Help! offered one outwardly noticeable difference from 1964's A Hard Day's Night: it was in color. If it seemed less fresh, that was because it built on the techniques of the earlier film. As with A Hard Day's Night, the acting abilities of the Fab Four, along with a bizarre and thin plot, made way for the performance of a number of songs. In a way, Help!, with its emphasis on new songs, campy performances by pop stars, and lots of action to fill up the screen, is a forerunner to music videos. Compared to earlier music films starring Elvis or Frank Sinatra, Help!'s pacing and approach are much more frenzied. Lester seemed to find the right tone for Help!, creating an enjoyable portrait of the Beatles and never allowing the film to take itself too seriously. His style would later be co-opted by Bob Rafaelson for the Monkees' television series in the '60s and has continued to influence rock musicals like Spice World in 1998. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi