The year was 1964, and the Beatles were about to get their mop-tops in front of mainstream America for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Of course, the popularity of their music and their personalities had made their way across the pond before them.
So lies the premise of I Wanna Hold Your Hand, a funny little comedy from the Criterion Collection rereleased this year. The little movie originally came out in the theaters in 1978, the first movie written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who went on to bring the world Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and a whole lot more. Another name attached to the project is Steven Spielberg, it being his first project as executive producer.
It’s no surprise that it’s entertaining all these years later.
Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale set up a fictional world of a handful of teenagers from New Jersey who cook up a caper to go see the Fab Four’s appearance in Manhattan. The girls get a classmate to borrow his dad’s business car when they explain how a limo can get them past the police presence in front of the Beatles’ hotel. That the kid’s father runs a funeral home matters not.
The kids are alright as the caper unwinds with varying degrees of frustration and reclamation.
Fun? You bet.
The restoration of the disc makes it look as fresh as anything coming out today. In fact, I’m considering it an excellent warm up for a trip to see Yesterday>/em> in the theater.