Yellow Submarine (1968)

Article 3173 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-20-2010
Posting Date: 4-22-2010
Directed by George Dunning
Featuring the voices of The Beatles, Paul Angelis, John Clive
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Musical psychedelic adventure movie

When Pepperland is invaded by the music-hating Blue Meanies, one man escapes to call on the Beatles to help them rid Pepperland of the menace.

Director George Dunning had previously produced the animated TV series “The Beatles”, a show that was not a favorite of the group itself. Probably as a result, the group wasn’t initially thrilled with this project, and though they contributed four songs (none of which proved to be hits), they largely saw it as a way to fulfill their movie contract with United Artists, and didn’t even voice their own characters. However, they were so impressed with the results that they agreed to appear in a filmed epilogue in which they lead the audience in a sing-along of “All Together Now”.

When looking at the credits, I was surprised not to see the name of Peter Max, whose work was extremely similar to the visual style of this movie; it was Heinz Edelmann who was responsible for the wild psychedelic look of the movie. The plot is pretty standard stuff; the basic adventure story format is the type of thing that would work for your average sword-and-sandal movie. But then, the movie isn’t really about the plot; it’s about the music and the visuals. It’s fascinating to watch, though it does go on a bit too long. The movie is full of references, including ones to FRANKENSTEIN and KING KONG, as well as numerous ones to the Beatles themselves. The animation is on the limited side, but it would prove to be influential on the work of Terry Gilliam.

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