A Beatles Engineer Was Shocked to See Ringo Starr Had a Personality in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

A Beatles engineer thought Ringo Starr shone in ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ He didn’t think Starr came off this way in real life.

In 1964, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr starred in the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night. They enjoyed the experience, and their fans loved the film. The people who knew The Beatles also enjoyed their viewing experiences. Audio engineer Geoff Emerick, who worked extensively with the band, said it showed him a different side of the musicians. In particular, he appreciated the fact that the typically reserved Starr came across well.

Geoff Emerick found it surprising that Ringo Starr came across well in a Beatles movie

When Emerick saw A Hard Day’s Night, he had some issues with the music but no complaints about The Beatles’ performances. He also appreciated the fact that he had the insider knowledge to recognize that their onscreen personas did not match their real personalities.

“The Beatles themselves were portrayed as four stereotypes in the movie, and I remember sitting there thinking to myself, ‘They’re not really like that’ — though I was probably the only one in the theater who knew that,” he wrote in his book Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. “They were playing their roles very much tongue in cheek, especially Lennon.”

He found Starr’s performance the most surprising. He came across as charismatic on screen, and Emerick hadn’t seen this side of him in person.

“I was quite surprised at Ringo’s charismatic onscreen persona, especially in the ‘This Boy’ scene,” he wrote. “Up until then, I just thought of him as the drummer in the band; now I could see he had a distinct personality, that he brought something of his own to the equation.”

He said Ringo Starr had his guard up more than the other Beatles

While Emerick worked with Starr for years, they never grew particularly close. Because of this, he never got to know Starr’s personality all that well.

“In all the years we worked together, I honestly don’t remember having one memorable conversation with Ringo,” Emerick wrote. “He simply was not outgoing and neither was I, so we never really got to know each other.”

He noted that Starr could be funny, charming, and moody. While he got flashes of this, Emerick thought Starr had a wall around him that made him difficult to know.

“I always felt he used sarcasm as a defense mechanism to cover his insecurity, like the way some people have a nervous laugh,” Emerick wrote. “But Ringo, like George Harrison, always seemed to have his guard up, and so there was a personal wall between us that I could never quite broach.”

The director of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ thought George Harrison was the best actor in the film

Emerick thought Starr shone in the movie. The director, Richard Lester, said he felt a different Beatle was the real star. In a conversation with Lester, director Stever Soderbergh said he saw Harrison as “the best actor of the four of them by far.” Lester agreed.

“Ringo, because his was the showy part, he was always the odd one out, so he was given characteristics that were more sympathetic,” Lester explained, per The Guardian. “John, I don’t think was interested and didn’t bother. Paul was too interested and tried too hard and George was always the one that was forgotten. So he just did it and got on with it.”

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