When it comes to teen girls, there’s almost nothing they can’t achieve – like pursuing The Beatles in I Want to Hold Your Hand.
Directed and co- written by Robert Zemeckis with co-writer and producer Bob Gale, this comedy was all about Beatlemania, which was the fan obsession that occurred in the 1960s about the Brit band.
Released in 1978, it was Zemeckis’ first film and focused on the day The Beatles came to the United States and performed for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was also the first film executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
The focus of the film is four friends from New Jersey, who head to New York City to try and see The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Rosie (Wendie Jo Sperber) is desperately in love with Paul, Grace (Theresa Saldana) wants to launch her photography career with exclusive photos, Pam (Nancy Mitchell) is about to get married and wants one last night of fun and freedom and Janis (Susan Kendall Newman) dislikes the band but wants to accompany with her friends.
Larry Dubois (Marc McClure) is their chauffeur into the big city while Tony Smerko (Bobby di Cicco) tags along for an adventure in Manhattan with the girls.
As the day goes along, each of the girls has a unique path of adventure, intrigue and comedy which leads them to individually discover more about themselves and their love for The Beatles.
The film showcased several classic Beatles songs including the title track, Love Me Do, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout, I Saw Her Standing There and She Loves You as well as Please Mr. Postman and Money (That’s What I Want).
The Beatles were depicted in the film, but their faces are never shown – instead you hear their voices and see them from behind or their feet. When the show is finally broadcast with all four in attendance, the filmmakers used the actual television footage for the climax of the film.
Although made for a modest US$2.8 million, plenty of positive reviews didn’t help this film, which didn’t do well at the box office and was considered a failure.
I remember seeing the film on television by accident – one of those Sunday afternoons that I had nothing to do and fell in love with this film and the four characters.
Despite its lack of success, its a fun snapshot of pop culture fans knowing what they want.