I was advised to watch a director’s first films. It will make you feel better. They won’t be the demi god that inspired you to start directing. They’ll be younger, in charge of a large budget for the first time, and controlling an army for the first time. A good thing about movies are they are a collaborative project. I can see that also being the downside. Not long after hearing that advice, someone recommended “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by Robert Zemeckis. He went on to direct “Back to the Future”, “Romancing the Stone”, and “Forest Gump”. As the title might imply, it follows a group of teens who want to see the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
I’m sure Zemeckis doesn’t want to hear it, but it was a fun and cute movie. One girl just wants to see the Beatles because she loves them. One wants to photograph them to launch her career as a photographer. One wants to protest them for being commercial and distracting from songs of progess and protest. One is getting married the next day and this is her last night out. They break into the hotel and do whatever it takes to get their goal accomplished.
It was also one of the first times I watched a movie with the directors comments. He explained where and how he and his writing partner,Bob Gale, came up with the idea, what was going on in the studio system at the time they were making the movie. The comedy was nice and fast. He said he was inspired by Frank Capra in that respect. Then we’d get to some scenes and he’d get quiet, like he was watching the scene with us. He’d then say you do some things when you’re starting out that you never would do when you were older. In one scene two characters are trapped in the elevator on the way the to the Ed Sullivan Show. In order to get out, one dives through the glass door. He explained he wouldn’t think the character would ever do that (slightly paraphrasing). It was a little fantastic but the character had been zany up til then. He hoarded Beatles stuff and claimed to be the biggest fan. People were mailing themselves to the Beatles. I think if someone like that learned they had tickets to the Beatles first US performance and the only way out of the elevator was breaking the glass door, they’d do it.
One thing I thought was fun was you never saw the Beatles head on. They were in the distance, you saw their feet, or the back of their heads. The character who is about to be married makes it into the guys’ dressing rooms. It’s fun seeing through her the guys’ stuff: their guitars, the food they ate, their rooms. For The Ed Sullivan Show, you’d see them in the distance, then through the TV monitors or cameras you’d see footage from the actual Ed Sullivan Show.
It was a fun movie that captured the excitement of Beatlemania and showed where someone accomplished started. So fun and comforting.