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Yellow Submarine (1968)

The Beatles come to the rescue when the evil Blue Meanies try to drive all the music and fun from Pepperland in the third feature film featuring the acclaimed and influential rock band.

This marvellous Pop Art animated classic features songs from Rubber SoulRevolver and Sgt. Pepper so the Blue Meanies don’t stand a chance!

As the film opens, the sinister Blue Meanies launch an all-out assault on Pepperland, stealing the love, peace and music from the good people who live there.

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Only Old Fred (the kindly old Lord Admiral) escapes, and he seeks out the Liverpool lads in his multi-talented yellow submarine.

Ringo, complaining that nothing exciting ever happens to him, is stalked by the sub; John is a Frankenstein’s Monster that drinks a Doctor Jekyll-style potion to transform back into himself; George is transcendentally meditating among images of India, and Paul appears after receiving a standing ovation for offscreen acts of high culture.

Once the boys are rounded up, Fred and The Beatles travel in the submarine through seas of monsters, science, time and holes, running across such oddball creations as ‘nowhere man’ Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD, a fast-talking, rhyming munchkin who fixes their motor for them, manages to lose the submarine of the title and is captured by the Blue Meanies only to be rescued by the band.

The lads brave through every danger with a smile and a song, eventually arriving at Pepperland for a love-fuelled showdown with the Meanies and their Dreadful Flying Glove.

Admittedly, the plot was a bit thin, but that was hardly the point. Yellow Submarine wasn’t a journey – it was a trip. With a wide palette of bright colours and a pop art psychedelic look reminiscent of Peter Max, the movie was an endless source of rainbow eye candy.

It was also a treat for the ears, mixing new tunes like It’s All Too Much with Beatles classics such as Eleanor RigbyLucy in the Sky With DiamondsAll You Need Is Love and of course, the title tune. When the music wasn’t playing, the film was peppered with clever bits of dialogue and throwaway one-liners.

yellowsub_meanieJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr did not supply the voices for their likenesses, which were instead provided by voice-over actors.

Even though actors provide the voices, they managed to capture each Beatle’s individual sensibility: John’s cheekiness, Paul’s cheeriness, George’s drollness and Ringo’s penchant for always getting himself into some sort of trouble.

The Beatles themselves appeared in a live-action epilogue.

Considering Yellow Submarine was a contractual obligation for The Beatles, it turned out surprisingly well under the circumstances and the original animation style and choice Beatles songs made it an instant classic in its day.

In 1999, the film was re-released on home video and DVD, including the Hey Bulldog sequence cut from the original movie.

John (voice)
John Clive
Paul (voice)
Geoffrey Hughes
George (voice)
Peter Batten
Ringo (voice)
Paul Angelis
Max
Dick Emery
Old Fred
Lance Percival
Chief Blue Meanie
Paul Angelis
Lord Mayor
Dick Emery
Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD
Dick Emery

Director
George Dunning