TARRTHAIL!

BY DENISE DUHAMEL

Paul said, “It was John’s idea to call the movie Help! And I think from the things he said, that was his state of mind at the time.” The movie was originally going to be called Eight Arms to Hold You which is also a plausible name for a Beatles movie. The lyrics of the title song: “One arm around your shoulder, one arm around your waist, one arm, one arm…” But Help! is better—Help! is a core member of the volitive and imperative class of interjections, expressing both a want and a command. Eight Arms to Hold You implies a want—perhaps a beloved keeps squirming away, perhaps two arms just aren’t enough to touch all the surfaces of the beloved. But “Eight Arms…” isn’t much of a command. Lennon knew an exclamation point after that would just look silly, like an extra arm with a balled up fist.