Richard Lester (born January 19, 1932) is an American film director based in Britain. Lester is notable for his work with the Beatles in the 1960s and his work on the Superman film series in the 1980s.
Lester was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A child prodigy, he began studies at the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 15. He started in television in 1950, working as a stage hand, floor manager, assistant director and then director in less than a year, because no one else was around who knew how to do the work. In 1953, Lester moved to London and began work as a director in independent television, working for the legendary low cost television producers The Danziger Brothers on episodes of Mark Saber, a half-hour detective series.
A variety show he produced caught the eye of Peter Sellers, who enlisted Lester’s help in translating The Goon Show to television as The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d. It was a hit, as were two follow-up shows, A Show Called Fred and Son of Fred. Lester recalls that A Show Called Fred was “broadcast live and that’s why I went into film directing where you can do a second take!”
A short film Lester made with Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959), was a favourite of the Beatles, and in particular John Lennon. When the band members were contracted to make a film in 1964, they chose Lester from a list of possible directors. A Hard Day’s Night showed an exaggerated and simplified version of The Beatles’ characters, and proved to be an effective marketing tool. Many of its stylistic innovations survive today as the conventions of music videos, in particular the multi-angle filming of a live performance. Lester was sent an award from MTV as “Father of the Music Video.”
Lester directed the second Beatles film Help! in 1965. Between the two Beatles films, Lester directed the first of several quintessential ‘swinging’ films, the sex comedy The Knack …and How to Get It, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequent Lester films from the 1960s included Petulia (also with a score by John Barry), as well as the darkly surreal anti-war movie How I Won the War co-starring Lennon, which he referred to as an “anti-anti-war movie”; Lester noted that anti-war movies still took the concept of war seriously, contrasting “bad” war crimes with wars fought for “good” causes like the liberation from Nazism or, at that time, Communism, whereas he set out to deconstruct it to show war as fundamentally opposed to humanity. Although set in World War II, the movie is indeed an oblique reference to the Vietnam War and at one point, breaking the fourth wall, references this directly.
Visit site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lester