No filmmaker captured with greater gusto or more dazzling technique the spirit and energy of Britain in the Swinging Sixties than Richard Lester. Ironically, he was an American, born in Philadelphia in 1932. A child prodigy, he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania at age 15 and emerged with a degree in clinical psychology while still in his teens. He got his first break as a director after ascending the ranks of a local TV station, but sensing better opportunities abroad, he decamped to London. Soon Lester was putting his skills to use in the U.K.’s burgeoning TV industry, headlining the short-lived The Dick Lester Show, a variety program with surreal touches reminiscent of BBC radio’s The Goon Show. He so impressed Goon alum Peter Sellers that he was chosen to direct a series of reunion specials and, eventually, the 1959 short The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, which opened the door to features. Catching the zeitgeist, never more so than in his collaborations with The Beatles, he found visual and rhythmic analogues to the iconoclastic anti-establishment mood of the moment. Absurdist humor, accelerated motion, application of vérité shooting methods, and flashy, innovative editing were among the chief characteristics of his style, but it was his mastery of craft and unfailing ingenuity that ensured he would outlast the cultural revolution.