Yellow Submarine (also known as The Beatles: Yellow Submarine) is a 1968 British inspired by the yellow scene hair 2018 music of, directed by animation producer, and produced by and. Initial press reports stated that the Beatles themselves would provide their own character voices; however, aside from composing and performing the songs, the real Beatles participated only in the closing scene of the film, while their cartoon counterparts were voiced by other actors.
The film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, in contrast to some of the Beatles' previous film ventures. co-founder and former chief creative officer has credited the film with bringing more interest in animation as a serious art form. commented that it "turned into a smash hit, delighting and alike". Half a century after its release, it is still regarded as a landmark of animation.
Pepperland is a cheerful, music-loving under the sea, protected by. The titular Yellow Submarine rests on an -like pyramid on a hill. At the edge of the land is a range of high blue mountains.
The land falls under a surprise attack from the music-hating, who live beyond the blue mountains. The attack starts with a music-proof blue glass globe that imprisons the band. With the band sealed in the globe, the Blue Meanies fire magical projectiles from big artillery stationed in the blue mountains and render the Pepperlanders immobile as statues by shooting arrows or dropping giant green apples upon them (a reference to the Beatles then-new company ), and drain the entire countryside of colour.
In the last minutes before his capture, Pepperland's elderly Lord Mayor sends Old Fred, an aging sailor (whom the even more elderly mayor calls "Young Fred"), to get help. Fred reactivates the mothballed Yellow Submarine and takes off in it (""). Old Fred travels to (""), where he follows a depressed and persuades him to return to Pepperland with him. Ringo collects his "mates",, and finally in The Pier, a house-like building on the top of a hill. The five journey back to Pepperland in the yellow submarine. As they start learning to operate the submarine, they sing "", after which they pass through several regions on their way to Pepperland:
- Sea of Time – where time flows both forwards and backwards to the tune of "". At one point, the submarine passes itself as it loops through time.
- Sea of Science – where they sing "". Just before the song finishes, they pick up a monster.
- Sea of Monsters – The monster is ejected into a sea inhabited by other weird monsters. Ringo presses the panic button on the submarine, ejecting him from the submarine and into the sea. He is seen riding one of the monsters, who tosses him around, and with the threat of Native American-like creatures, resulting in John pressing another button on the submarine, sending the US Cavalry to successfully defeat the creatures and rescue Ringo. It is also where the sinister "vacuum cleaner monster" swallows up all loose objects, creatures, the entire landscape, and finally swallows itself, dislodging the submarine into an empty void.
- Sea of Nothing – This blank region is where they meet Ph.D. ("Phud"), a short pudgy creature with a painted clown face and rabbit-like cotton tail, but a highly studious and helpful ally to the Beatles, who sing "" in reference to him. As they leave, Ringo feels sorry for the lonely "Nowhere Man" and invites him to join them aboard the submarine.
- Foothills of the Headlands – Thanks to Jeremy, this is where he and the Beatles are separated from both the Submarine (and Old Fred) and where John sings "". Pepper (foreshadowing that Pepperland is yet to come) causes the beings in the Headlands to sneeze, blowing the Beatles and Jeremy into the Sea of Holes.
- Sea of Holes – Here, Jeremy is kidnapped by one of the Blue Meanies patrolling the outskirts of Pepperland. Ringo thoroughly investigates one of the endless number of holes and puts it into his pocket. While searching for Jeremy, Ringo jumps onto a green hole which turns the Sea of Holes into the Sea of Green. From here, the group arrives in Pepperland, followed by Old Fred in the Submarine.
Reunited with Old Fred, they look upon the landscape: a sorry sight. The beautiful flowers have become thorns, and the once-happy landscape now a grey, barren wasteland. Everyone is immobilized and made miserable by the evil Blue Meanies, only able to move when permitted (such as when the Meanies feel like bullying them). The Beatles, camouflaged as Pepperlandian cutouts, dress up as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and reacquire (steal back) some instruments (their own instruments were lost in the Sea of Monsters) from the Grand Bandstand where the Meanies impounded "everything that maketh music". The four are discovered at the very last second (Ringo accidentally steps on a bagpipe) and a clown sounds the alarm, causing the Beatles to flee hastily from the Meanies' vicious multi-headed (and multi-bodied dog. Once in the clear, after defeating some apple-bonkers, the four rally the land to rebellion, singing "", eventually forcing the Blue Meanies to retreat. The retaliates, sending out his main enforcer, the Dreadful Flying Glove, but John easily defeats it by singing "". Pepperland is restored to colour and its flowers re-bloom, as the residents, empowered by the Beatles' music, rise up and take up arms (flowers) against the Meanies, who are fleeing headlong back to the blue border mountains where they came from. The original Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are released (thanks to the hole carried in Ringo's pocket from the Sea of Holes) and Ringo rescues Jeremy. The Beatles then have a rematch with the four-headed Meanie dog, singing "", with the Beatles victorious once again (This scene was originally omitted in the US version). The Blue Meanies are forced to retreat, and the Chief Blue Meanie tries to save face by killing Jeremy, but Jeremy performs some "transformation magic" on him causing the Meanie to bloom roses and sadly concede defeat. John extends an offer of friendship, and the Chief Blue Meanie has a change of heart (partly due to the "transformation magic" performed by Jeremy) and accepts. An enormous party ensues, where everyone sings "" with everyone living happily ever after.
At the end, we see the real Beatles in live-action, having returned home, playfully showing off their souvenirs: George has the submarine's motor, Paul has "a little 'LOVE'" and Ringo still has half a hole in his pocket (having supposedly given the other half to Jeremy, which Paul offers to fix "to keep his mind from wandering", a reference to ""). Looking through a telescope, John announces that "newer and bluer Meanies have been sighted within the vicinity of this theatre" and claims there is only one way to go out: "Singing!" The obliges with a short reprise of "", which ends with translations of the song's title in various languages appearing in sequence on the screen. The film originally concluded with the words "Released through " on the bottom-right-hand-corner of the screen.
- According to the special features section of the Yellow Submarine DVD, Batten provided the voice of George for about the first half of the movie. Batten was discovered to be a from the in and was arrested before he finished recording for the film. His part was completed by Angelis, who was the voice of Ringo and the Chief Blue Meanie.
- Percival also provided the voices of Paul and Ringo for the TV cartoon series.
were not enthusiastic about participating in a new motion picture, having been dissatisfied with their second feature film, (1965), directed by. However, they saw an animated film as a favourable way to complete their commitment to for a third film. Many fans have assumed that the cartoon did not satisfy the contract, but it was (1970) that was not connected to the original three-picture deal the Beatles made with UA.
The Beatles make a live-action in the final scene, which was filmed on 25 January 1968, shortly before the band's. This was to fulfill their contractual obligation to UA of actually appearing in the film. The cameo was originally intended to feature a post-production psychedelic background and effects, but because of time and budget constraints, a blank, black background remained in the final film. While Starr and McCartney still looked the same as their animated counterparts, Lennon and Harrison's physical appearances had changed by the time the cameo was shot. Both were clean-shaven, and Lennon had begun to grow his hair longer with accompanying mutton chop.
The original story was written by Lee Minoff, based on the song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and the screenplay penned by four collaborators including. The George Harrison character's recurring line "It's all in the mind" is taken from.
As with many motion picture, the music takes precedence over the actual plot, and most of the story is a series of designed to present Beatles music set to various images, in a form reminiscent of 's (and foreshadowing the rise of music videos and MTV thirteen years later). Nonetheless, the film still presents a modern-day representing the values of its intended audience.
The dialogue is littered with,, and Beatles in-jokes. In the DVD production supervisor John Coates states that many of these lines were written by Liverpudlian poet, though he received no credit in the film.
In the DVD, Coates states that the Meanies were always intended to be coloured blue. However, Millicent McMillan recalls that the Blue Meanies were originally supposed to be red, or even purple, but when 's assistant accidentally changed the colours, the film's characters took on a different meaning. Coates acknowledges in the commentary that the "are you Bluish? You don't look Bluish" joke in the film is a pun on the then-contemporary expression "you don't look Jewish", but that it was not intended to be derogatory.
The Beatles' animated personas were based on their appearance in the promotional film for the song "", with the exception of Paul being without his moustache. The film also includes several references to songs not included in the soundtrack, including "", where the lyrics are referenced in the "Sea of Holes" scene, as well as the orchestral breaks earlier in the film, also from "A Day in the Life".
National and foreign animators were assembled by TVC. American animators and were hired as the film's animation directors. Charlie Jenkins, one of the film's key creative directors, was responsible for the entire "" sequence, as well as the submarine travel from Liverpool, through London, to splashdown. Jenkins also was responsible for "Only a Northern Song" in the Sea of Science, plus much of the multi-image sequences. A large crew of skilled animators, including (in alphabetical order) Alan Ball,, John Challis, Hester Coblentz, Geoff Collins, Rich Cox, Duane Crowther, Tony Cuthbert,,, Cam Ford, Norm Drew, Tom Halley, Dick Horne, Arthur Humberstone, Dennis Hunt,,, Anne Jolliffe, Dave Livesey, Reg Lodge, Geoff Loynes, Lawrence Moorcroft, Ted Percival, Mike Pocock and, were responsible for bringing the animated Beatles to life. The background work was executed by artists under the direction of and Millicent McMillan who were both background supervisors. Ted Lewis and Chris Miles were responsible for animation cleanup.
, who also worked on, was the overall director for the film, supervising over 200 artists for 11 months. "" was Dunning's idea, which he turned over to Bill Sewell, who delivered more than thirty minutes of images. By that time, Dunning was unavailable, and Bob Balser, with the help of Arne Gustafson, edited the material to its sequence length in the film.
The animation design of Yellow Submarine has sometimes been incorrectly attributed to famous psychedelic artist of the era, but the film's art director was. Edelmann, along with his contemporary, pioneered the psychedelic style for which Max would later become famous, but according to Edelmann and producer Al Brodax, as quoted in the book Inside the Yellow Submarine by Hieronimus and Cortner, Max had nothing to do with the production of Yellow Submarine.
The film's surreal visual style, created by creative director Heinz Edelmann, contrasts greatly with the efforts of and other animated films previously released by Hollywood up until the time. The film uses a style of. It also paved the way for 's animations for and (particularly the Eleanor Rigby sequence), as well as the vignettes for ABC and similar-looking animation in early seasons of and. (As such, only one of the animation staff of Yellow Submarine did indeed contribute subsequent animation to : Ron Campbell.)
In addition to the 1966-released title song "", several complete or excerpted songs, four previously unreleased, were used in the film. The songs included ""; "", written by Harrison; "", which had first appeared as the to "", in June 1967; "", a Harrison composition originally recorded during sessions for ; and "". Written by Lennon, this last track was cut from the film before it opened in the US. "Hey Bulldog" was restored for the US theatrical and home video reissue in 1999. The four new songs used on the soundtrack album were not considered of high enough quality for appearance on a "regular" Beatles album.
The film's instrumental music was an orchestral score composed and arranged by. One of the film's cues, heard after the main title credits, was originally recorded during sessions for "" (a track on, also known as the White Album) and would have been used as the introduction to Starr's White Album composition "". The same cue was later released as "" on the 1996 Beatles compilation.
Musical numbersAll tracks written by except where noted. Track start and end time is indicated in... These are approximated because the songs are embedded in the film plot and cannot be strictly separated.
- 0.00.21–0.02.15: "Introduction Story" music by
- 0.07.55–0.10.40: ""
- 0.10.40–0.13.30: ""
- 0.19.00–0.19.55: "" () (excerpt, played during George's entrance)
- 0.22.30–0.23.05: "" (excerpt, orchestral swell, starting as the Submarine takes off)
- 0.23.25–0.25.55: ""
- 0.28.20–0.31.15: ""
- 0.31.30–0.34.30: "" (Harrison)
- 0.43.15–0.46.15: ""
- 0.48.00–0.51.30: ""
- 0.54.30–0.54.50: "Sea of Green" (a short vocal excerpt when Ringo finds the green hole that leads to Pepperland)
- 0.56.15–0.56.25: "" (Harrison) (short excerpt, a line is sung a cappella to revive the Lord Mayor)
- 1.06.35–1.08.50: ""
- 1.08.50–1.09.05: "" (short excerpt, directly following "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" without interruption, just as on the )
- 1.11.45–1.15.05: ""
- 1.16.30–1.16.40: "" (excerpt, played as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are, thanks to Ringo's "hole in his pocket", set free from the anti-music bubble; the recording of the song is expanded for the American-released version, and the scene with the expansion of the recording of the song leads to a scene that replaces the "Hey Bulldog" sequence due to the latter sequence being "anti-climactic".)
- 1.17.25–1.21.00: "" Originally shown only in Europe before the film's 1999 restoration.
- 1.24.15–1.27.15: "" (Harrison)
- 1.27.15–1.29.00: "" (accompanied by images of the real Beatles singing, numbers and letters, and "all together now" translated in various languages)
The original soundtrack album comprised the four original Beatles songs, two other Beatles songs (the title song and ""), and orchestral pieces by.
The orchestral pieces were also used in the short mission film, which NASA made for every mission.Second soundtrack album
Another soundtrack was released in 1999, which contained all of the Beatles' songs from the film except "A Day in the Life".
Yellow Submarine received widespread critical acclaim. Released in the midst of the pop culture of the 1960s, the film was a box-office hit, drawing in crowds both for its lush, wildly creative images, and its soundtrack of Beatles songs. The film was distributed worldwide by in two versions. The version shown in Europe included an extra musical number, "Hey Bulldog", heard in the final third of the film. For release in the United States, the number was replaced with alternative animation due to time constraints. It was felt that at the time, American audiences would grow tired from the length of the film.
On, the film currently holds a 97% approval rating based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The website's critical consensus states: "A joyful, phantasmagoric blend of colorful animation and the music of the Beatles, Yellow Submarine is delightful (and occasionally melancholy) family fare." On, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Rights and distribution
Of all the Beatles films released by UA, this had been the only one to which UA retained the rights, leading up to its purchase by in 1981. In 2005, led a consortium that purchased MGM and UA. SPE had handled theatrical distribution for MGM until 2012. Conversely, was responsible for home video distribution when the most recent home video release went out of print.
For the 50th anniversary of the movie in 2018, it screened in UK and Ireland for one day on 8 July, and in the US from 8 July. Additionally, Amazon negotiated an exclusive streaming window on the movie, starting 13 July in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain, France and Italy under a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. The companies declined to disclose the length of the Amazon's exclusive rights.
With the dawn of the home video era came an opportunity to release Yellow Submarine on and. However, it was held up for some years due to music-rights issues that UA had to clear in order for the film to be issued on video by what was then MGM/UA Home Video in 1987. This was presented in its US theatrical release (without the "Hey Bulldog" scene), with a simulated stereo mix of the film's original mono soundtrack. The video was deleted around 1990, and for many years copies of the original VHS issue were considered.
In 1999, then-rights holders and Apple re-issued the film for the first time on and VHS using restoration techniques of the time, the sound remixed to Dolby 5.1, and the film re-edited to its European theatrical version with the "Hey Bulldog" number restored. This version (released through MGM Home Entertainment) has since gone out of print as the rights reverted to Apple Corps.
The movie is available on Amazon Prime Video, since 13 July 2018 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain, France and Italy. The length of the availability is unknown.
On 20 March 2012, Apple announced that the film had been restored by hand for and release on 28 May (29 May in North America), later delayed one week to 4 June (5 June in North America). In a released statement, the company stated: "The film's soundtrack album will be reissued on CD on the same date. The film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time – all done by hand, frame by frame." The delicate restoration was supervised by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team which included Chris Dusendschon, Rayan Raghuram and Randy Walker. No automated software was used to clean-up the film's repaired and digitised photo-chemical elements. The work was done by hand, a single frame at a time by forty to sixty trained digital artists over several months.
In addition to the DVD and Blu-ray re-release, the restored version also received a limited theatrical run in May 2012.
For the 50th anniversary of the movie the soundtrack and score were remixed in 5.1 stereo surround sound at Abbey Road Studios by mix engineer.
In 1999, United Artists and digitally remixed the audio of the film for a highly successful theatrical and home video re-release. Though the visuals were not digitally restored, a new transfer was done after cleaning the original film negative and rejuvenating the colour. A was also released, which featured the first extensive digital stereo remixes of Beatles material.
The previous DVD release also featured a music-only audio track, without spoken dialogue, leaving only the music and the songs. As aforementioned, the MGM disc is out of print and the film's rights have reverted to Apple who reissued the film in June 2012 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Awards and honours
In August 2009, reported that and director were negotiating to produce a 3D of the film. would be used, as with Zemeckis' previous animated films,, and. Variety also indicated Disney hoped to release the film in time for the in London. Disney and Apple Corps officially announced the remake at the inaugural D23 Expo on 11 September 2009.
Comedian was cast to voice Paul, as John, as George, and as Ringo. California-based Beatles was cast to do the performance for the animated Beatles.
In May 2010, Disney closed Zemeckis' digital film studio,, after the successful yet unsatisfactory box office performance of A Christmas Carol. On 14 March 2011, Disney abandoned the project, citing the disastrous opening weekend results of '. Criticism towards motion capture technology was also a factor.
After its cancellation at Disney, Zemeckis tried to pitch the remake to other studios. By December 2012, Zemeckis expressed that he had lost interest in the project, stating: "That would have been great to bring the Beatles back to life. But it's probably better not to be remade – you're always behind the 8-ball when do you  a remake."
In popular culture
- The film's poster contains Lennon flashing one of the first known instances of in. It popularised the sign that has since been used by many bands. However, it may have been the poster artist's misinterpretation of the.
- In a letter he sent to the in April 1970, the refers to police as "blue meannies" [sic].
- In The Simpsons episode "" (1993),, under anesthetic, has a dream sequence highly reminiscent of the film.
- episode "Mime for a Change" (1999) starts out with a rainbow similar to the one marking the gateway into Pepperland. Furthermore, Mr. Mime, when he robs Townsville of its colour, also renders the citizens immobile and silent, same as the Meanies' weapons and the green apples from the Green Apple Bonkers. The girls restore the color and life to Townsville by singing a rock song about love, same as the Beatles doing likewise singing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "All You Need Is Love". Old Fred and the Beatles as seen in the film also appeared in the episode "Meet the Beat-Alls".
- In (2007), Dewey Cox () meets the Beatles (,,, and ) in a tent with and is offered to take an LSD trip with them. They start dreaming and end up in scenes of the film.
- In the opening sequence of the third film (2008), the Planet Express ship flies into the giant television screen and, rather than crashing and breaking it as in the show's usual opening, it gets absorbed into the screen and travels through an opening sequence that parodies the Yellow Submarine's journey in the film.
- Yellow Submarine images are also satirised in episodes of and.
- In 2016, for the 50th anniversary of the original song's release, the popular die-cast toy car brand released a 1:64 scale edition of the Yellow Submarine, as well as a six-car series with packaging and decorations based on the film.
- In early 2016, officially announced that they will be releasing a Yellow Submarine Lego set. It was released in November 2016. The Minifigures include all four Beatles and Jeremy Hillary Boob.
- On 1 March 2014, Vans officially released a series of shoes based on Yellow Submarine. They cost about and.
- Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. .
- "Edelmann is given credit for inventing the Blue Meanies to serve that role. In an interview, Edelman added yet another to those who contributed to the film's script. He said, "There was never one script. We had about 20. Roger McGough was responsible for much of it." McGough was a Liverpool poet who was brought in to add a Liverpool flavour to the soundtrack. He was paid £500 for his work, but was not given screen credit." (Accessed 19 October 2014.)
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