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I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) Poster

Trivia

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Director Robert Zemeckis' feature debut, as well as his first of many collaborations with producer Steven Spielberg. Despite the film's relatively modest budget (approximately $2.8 million), Universal Studios were uneasy with Spielberg's choice in hiring the unproven director. To prevent Zemeckis from being fired, executive Ned Tanen made Spielberg agree that if Zemeckis was doing a markedly poor job, Spielberg would step in and direct the film himself. This way, Universal could hardly lose: they would either have given a new whiz-kid director his first chance, or they would have gained another Spielberg film to release.
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First film executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
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Four of the film's stars -- Bobby Di Cicco, Wendie Jo Sperber, Nancy Allen, and Eddie Deezen -- would go on to appear in 1941 (1979), which was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis.
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Although they did not film in The Beatles suite at the Plaza Hotel, while on a promotional tour for the movie in April, 1978, some cast members did stay a few days in that exact suite while in New York City.
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Two of this film's stars -- Wendie Jo Sperber and Marc McClure -- would go on to have supporting roles in the "Back to the Future" trilogy, written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, directed by Zemeckis, and produced by Steven Spielberg.
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The character of Pam appears to be a reference to the song "Polythene Pam". The character exhibits fetishistic behaviors towards the objects and instruments in the Beatles' room, then hides under the bed to watch them change clothes. "Polythene Pam" was based on an experience John Lennon had with a couple who experimented in kinky fetish sex, including wearing polythene (polyethylene) plastic bags.
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The Beatles song that this film is named for is officially "I Want To Hold Your Hand". However, because of the way the song is sung, the refrain is commonly heard as "Wanna", hence the film title.
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The film takes place from February 8 to February 9, 1964.
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Although the movie takes place in 1964, the titles of three of The Beatles' songs from later on in their career are mentioned: "Helter Skelter" (woman in hotel elevator says, "Things are all Helter Skelter"), "Get Back" (what the police tell the teenagers as they attempt to save Janis and Peter), and "909" (as in "The One After 909") - 909 is the room number of the man who wants a call girl.
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Eddie Deezen's character is named in part after someone Bob Gale worked with in St. Louis during an amateur film shoot.
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Will Jordan, as Ed Sullivan, announces next week's acts after The Beatles finish their segment. He says that a young man will appear who does an impersonation of him (Ed Sullivan), named Will Jordan.
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When one of the girls from Brooklyn (Sherry Lynn) tells Tony Smerko (Bobby Di Cicco) that he looks like Paul, he assumes that she means Paul Newman rather than Paul McCartney. Newman was the real life father of Susan Kendall Newman (Janis Goldman).
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The February 7, 1964 issue of "Time" is seen in the Beatles' hotel room. Maurice Couve de Murville, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1958 to 1968, is depicted on the cover.
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None of the twelve Lennon-McCartney songs used in this picture were published in the U.S.A. by Maclen Music, which handled most of the Beatles' song publishing. The Lennon-McCartney songs used in this picture, and their respective U.S. publishers at the time of production were:

Love Me Do, P.S. I Love You (Beechwood Music); Please Please Me (Dick Jmes Music); Do You Want To Know A Secret? (Metric Music); Thank You Girl (Conrad Music); From Me To You, I Saw Her Standing There, Misery, There's A Place, She Loves You, I Wanna Be Your Man (Gil Music); and, I Want To Hold Your Hand (Duchess Music).
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Although Beatles songs have been translated and recorded by hundreds of foreign artists, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" is one of only two songs that were recorded in another language by the Beatles themselves. In 1964, at the height of Beatlemania, the Beatles traveled to Paris for their only studio recording session outside the UK. Along with a new English single ("Can't Buy Me Love"), they recorded two of their existing songs in German: "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ("Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand") and "She Loves You" ("Sie Liebt Dich"). The songs were translated by Luxembourg lyricist Camillo Felgen, and taught to the Beatles phonetically. Oddly, while the stereo masters of the English versions of these songs have been lost (only mono masters exist), the German versions have both stereo and mono masters.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The scene in which Larry Dubois (Marc McClure) finds inner courage and saves Grace Corrigan (Theresa Saldana) from being attacked by Al (Claude Earl Jones) is highly similar to the scene to Back to the Future (1985) in which the similarly wimpy character George McFly (Crispin Glover) saves his future wife Lorraine Baines (Lea Thompson) from Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Larry and George both said, "Get your goddamn hands off her!" before punching the attacker. Both this film and Back to the Future (1985) were directed by Robert Zemeckis and co-written by him and Bob Gale while McClure and Wendie Jo Sperber (Rosie Petrofsky) played George and Lorraine's two eldest children Dave and Linda in the film. Read Morgan (Peter's Father) and Ivy Bethune (Foreign Woman) also appeared in both films.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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