Today's film fare, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, watched so I wouldn't be tempted to purchase the brand new Criterion Collection re-release of it in Blu ray. It really is a must for music fans and popculture historians of all ages (barring the odd sociopath who despises the Beatles.) This 1978 comedy of the Beatles' arrival and first televised gig in NYC is Robert Zemekis' well nigh perfect first film, cast with engaging young talent, and licensing 17 genuine Beatles songs bombarding the era as would have been real life soundtrack.
I witnessed the West Coast version of Beatlemania amongst teens and can attest that however outrageous this comedy seems, it's practically a documentary. Why, some still ask? The obvious answer through the ages has been that Beatlemania (a perfect storm of ad hoc promotion and new music worthy of such plaudits) allowed an America still grieving from the JFK assassination to obsess about something obviously good and brand new in their lives. 73 million people watched that live televised gig; in other words 43% of all American households whether or not they were regular tv viewers or not.
The less publicized reason has to do with Beatlemania's springboard to, yes, sexual awakening for the new 1960s generation of liberated teen girls. Although out of reach (except for some plot points in this movie, and select well-connected girlfriends I knew in prep school) the Beatles had twofold allure. #1 The reinforcement of their music constantly heard on mass media and instantly recognizable, quite unlike anything that came before. #2 Their outgoing, witty personas on the newsbytes was a great introduction to just what these good looking young Beatles themselves wanted to convey in their art: personal sexiness, always the primal ingredient of rock and roll.
The screen capture herein features actress Nancy Allen as a teen who has broken into the band's hotel suite while they are out, and she succumbs to feeling up all of their possessions strewn about as an orgasmic, vicarious thrill way beyond her fan's expectations. Last factoid- the Beatles aren't impersonated in this film except in longshots, news footage and a few scenes from behind while they're conversing. My friend Rich Correll supplied the voice for Paul McCartney in this film!