Nancy Allen as Pam Mitchell
Bobby Di Cicco as Tony Smerko
Marc McClure as Larry Dubois
Susan Kendall Newman as Janis Goldman
Theresa Saldana as Grace Corrigan
Wendie Jo Sperber as Rosie Petrofsky
Eddie Deezen as Richard ‘Ringo’ Klaus
Christian Juttner as Peter Plimpton
Will Jordan as Ed Sullivan
Read Morgan as Peter’s Father
Claude Earl Jones as Al
James Houghton as Eddie
James Hewitson as Neil
Dick Miller as Sergeant Brenner
Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Robert Zemeckis and Writer Bob Gale
Widescreen (1.85:1) Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
This film was originally released in 1978.
In February 1964, four teenage girls from New Jersey decide to go to New York and try to sneak into the hotel the Beatles are staying in before their famous Ed Sullivan Show appearance. Along for the ride are Rosie Petrofsky, a die hard Beatle fan; Grace Corrigan, a girl who will do anything to get an exclusive photo of the Beatles for the school paper; Janis Goldman, an anti-Beatle who wants to protest their music before a national audience; and Pam Mitchell, a reluctant tag-along who is more concerned about her impending wedding than the Beatles. The girls also drag along the shy Larry Dubois as a limo driver and the cocky Tony Smerko for company. Together the teens get closer to the Beatles than any other fan, but they must endure all sorts of madcap adventures before they get their rewards.
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is rated PG.
As a big Robert Zemeckis and Back To The Future fan, I was surprised that I had never heard of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” before. Zemeckis co-wrote the movie with Bob Gale, also of BTTF fame. And besides being a retro-comedy executive produced by Steven Spielberg, it also featured several actors that would go on to appear in BTTF as well (Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber). This film is jam packed with Back To The Future connections.
However, the real draw of the film is the fact that it showcases Beatlemania in all its glory. The story is quite funny and it shows just how far a group of teens would be willing to go to feed their obsessions. From the screaming to the fainting to the abusing cops, it’s all here. One scene that struck me as particularly amusing was when a man stepped on a girl’s foot outside of the hotel. When she screams in pain, all of the other girls in the crowd start screaming thinking someone saw one of the Beatles in a hotel room window. It’s this kind of humor that runs through the whole film. I think anyone who experienced Beatlemania or at least appreciates it will enjoy this movie.
Nancy Allen gets top billing as Pam Mitchell. I have to say it’s quite a different character from her role as the tough cop in Robocop. The characters couldn’t be more different. As Pam, she has an amusing transformation from a girl worried about what her fiancé will think of the trip to the ultimate Beatle fan luxuriating in their hotel room while they’re away. Theresa Saldana was also funny as Grace Corrigan, the girl willing to do anything, and I mean anything, in order to get a photo of the Beatles. She’s definitely one of the most spirited characters. Wendie Jo Sperber was also great as Rosie Petrofsky, a girl willing to jump out of a moving vehicle for a chance to win tickets to the Ed Sullivan Show. Eddie Deezen (from Grease and Dexter’s Laboratory) has a funny role as Richard ‘Ringo’ Klaus, a geeky Beatles memorabilia collector. His willingness to save even grass that the Beatles walk on is quite funny. The rest of the cast also have moments to shine throughout the film.
As you can expect, the soundtrack featuring original Beatles tunes is quite fun. I hadn’t heard some of them in a while and they perfectly set the mood for the romp around New York.
Overall this movie is a lot of fun and a pleasant blast from the past in more ways than one. If you’re a fan of the Beatles, Robert Zemeckis, or Back To The Future, I recommend watching this film.
There’s only one significant bonus feature on this DVD and it’s the Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Robert Zemeckis and Writer Bob Gale. It’s a pretty good commentary with the creators reminiscing about how they came up with the idea for the movie, how the shot the film, etc. And as a fan of Steven Spielberg, I was interested in hearing their stories about him on the set.
The Bottom Line:
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a fun comedy about the lengths fans will go to in order to feed their obsession. You don’t have to be a fan of the Beatles to enjoy this, but it will certainly make it even more fun. Fans of Back To The Future and Robert Zemeckis will also get a kick out of seeing this early film by the director.