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Toonhound presents...






British Movie Toons

      Yellow Submarine

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   producers: King Features / Apple / UA
   animation: cel, cut-out and experimental
                     animation techniques
     run time: 87min

"Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an unearthly
    paradise called Pepperland..."


In this Pop Art extravaganza, an aged sea Captain, Old Fred teams up with
     animated versions of those pop-rock legends The Beatles to take us on
     a Magical Musical Mystery Tour onboard the aquatic vessel of the title track.

     Here's the story:

     The subaquatic realm of Pepperland lies 80,000 leagues beneath the sea.
     It's a harmonious place, protected by the musical spell of Sgt Pepper's Lonely
     Hearts Club Hand. But the band and the realm have now been overrun by the
     tyrannous, music-hating Blue Meanies. Old Fred is thus dispatched in that
     Yellow Submanrine to get some musical assistance, and free the land of
     tyranny. Fred travels to Liverpool where he happens across Ringo, and soon,
     he and  John, Paul and George are setting sail on a fantastic voyage through
     the psychedelic seas of Tim, Science, Monsters and Holes (wherein they
     befriend Jeremy HillaryBoob PhD - The Nowhere Man) before they arrive
     at Pepperland for a musical showdown with those maniacal Meanies...

     The plot may sound completely bizarre, but the film itself is an absoloute
     triumph of wit, wonder and musicality. Freewheeling imagery tumbles across
     the screen in a variety of media as the Beatles songs take flight. The
     film is bursting with what is now considered iconic imagery from those
     hedonistic days - the screeching Meanies with their elongated Mickey
     Mouse hats, their Flying Glove, that submarine, and the Fab Four themselves.
     Once seen, they and the movie are simply never to be forgotten...

     "Yellow Submarine" was the first animated feature to star real people in
     animated form. It famously went into production without a final script, or a
     final storyboard. Pre-production and development lasted 13 months,
     running through 14 different script drafts and utilizing 40 animators and
     140 technical staff. The actual shooting period was then condensed
     into a frantic 11 month schedule.

     Producer Al Brodax had previously produced 40 episodes of ABC's Beatles
     TV series when he got the greenlight for the feature. German poster artist
     Heinz Edelmann was brought in to create the film's amazing Pop Art look,
     which incorporated the influences of 60s artists Andy Warhol, Peter Blake,
     photographer Richard Avedon and surrealist supremos Magritt and Salvador Dali.
     Look closely during the "Eleanor Rigby" sequence and you'll see photos of the
     production team incorporated into the scene, including Al Brodax (man with pipe),
     Dunning and Edelman (men with umbrellas), Alison De Vere (girl taking a snapshot)
     and even the landlord of the crew's favourite pub (man in phone box, man
     with leaping dog).

        John, Paul, George and Ringo

     There are 16 Beatles songs in the film, including 5 specially written for the
     soundtrack, these being:

     "It's all too Much"
     "Baby, You're A Rich Man"
     "Only a Northern Song"
     "Altogether Now"
     "Hey, Bulldog"

     The latter was actually edited from the initial American release, and
     wasn't reinstated until the film's 30th anninversary rerelease in 1999.
     That release sparked something of a mini-revival of interest in the film,
     which brought us a handsome DVD, a selection of brilliant action
     figures and models from McFarlane Toys, china tea sets, cookie jars
     and much more...
     "Yellow Submarine" is a technical marvel. It melds live-action photography
     with animation, reinvents the technique of rotoscoping, experiments with an array
     of lens and filter effects, toys with the rules of pacing and narrative and produces
     a glorious animated rainbow of tricks and delights which still influence today...


     Speaking of influences, the film has been refrenced by a plethora of tv shows
     and films since its first appearance. Here are some of the animated nods
     to look out for:

     Abba To Zappa ad campaign
This award-winning commerical and poster compaign for The Observer
     Music Monthly takes us on an A to Z of the music world, with famous bands
     and performers for each letter rendered as miniature Kubrick-types.
     In the animated advert, The Beatles represent the letter B, and
     are depicted in their Sgt Peppers outfits. One quick nod of the head later
     and we see them being despatched onboard their sublime Yellow

     The Simpsons - Season Eight (1996/1997)
     The episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer" is a Beatle-referencer's
     delight which includes a reproduction of the pyramid from Pepperland, and
     indeed, the story might actually be an adventure through Homer Simpson's
     very own imaginery Pepperland...

     The Simpsons - Season Four (1992/1993)
     In the episode "Last Exit To Springfield", Lisa has an out of body
     experience at the dentist in which she witnesses a missing scene
     from the film...

     Noel's Fantastic Trip (1984)
     Now here's a real cartoon curio. Japanese folk singer Iruka gave voice to this
     mimicking musical adventure in which a young tomboy girl takesoff on a
     crazy flight in a miniature propeller plane. At one point mid-way, she even
     encounters the Beatles and their submarine, under the sea, in all their
     Pop Art glory...


     In the news
    The Hound: April 2004

     Yellow Submarine picture book forthcoming...


     Yellow Submarine on DVD

     UK DVD Yellow Submarine

                Region 2 / MGM / February 2000

     USA DVD
Yellow Submarine
                Region 1 / MGM / September 1999


 director:                    George Dunning
    producer:                  Al Brodax
    assiciate producer:    Mary Ellen Stewart
    prod supervisor:        John Coates
    art director:               Heinz Edelmann
    special sequences:     Charles Jenkins
    prod coordinator:       Abe Goodman
    screen story:             Lee Minoff
    screenplay:               Lee Minoff and Al Brodax
                                    Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal
                                    from an original story by Lee Minoff
                                    based upon a song by John Lennon
                                    and Paul McCartney
    musical director:        George Martin
    starring:                    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    animation directors:    Jack Stokes, Robert Balser
    additional sequence
                   Edrich Radage
    live action
     sequence director:
    Dennis Abey
    animation:                 Alan Ball, Reg Lodge, Tom Halley,
                                     Dave Livesey, Duane Crowther

                                     Rich Cox, Cam Ford, Mike Pocock,  
                                     Geoff Loynes, Mike Stewart,
                                     Malcolm Draper, Ted Percival,
                                     Lawrence Moorcroft, Dennis Hunt,
                                     Arthur Humberstone,Anne Jolliffe,
                                     Tony Cuthbert, Paul Dreissen,
                                     Hester Coblentz, Dick Horne,
                                     John Challis, Diane Jackson,
                                      Geoff Collins, Gerry Potterton                  
                                     Chris Caunter (special effects)
    animation clean-up:   Ted Lewis (supervisor)
                                     Ian Cowan, Richard Dakin,
                                     Christopher Miles, Ray Newman
    trace & paint
               Helen Jones, Corona Maher,
                                     Janet Hosie, Margaret Geddes,
                                     Jenny Brisbane, Susan Brown,
                                     Susan Gibbons
               Alison De Vere, Millicent McMillan
    design:                       Jon Cramer, Dick Sawyer

    layout artists:            Gordon Harrison, Ray Aragon,
                                     Peter Arthy, Jack Daniels, Alan Grey,
                                     Ted Pettingal, Gill Potter
    background artists:    Jenny Aldridge, Arthur Button,
                                     Malcolm Dakin, David Elvin,
                                     Paul Francis, Ian Gordon,
                                     Caird Green, Clare Greenford,
                                     Muriel Jennings, Martina Selway
    editor:                        Brian J. Bishop
    dubbing editors:          Donald Cohen, Ken Rolls
    dubbing mixer:           Hugh Strain
    camera operators:      John Williams
                                     Richard Wood, Bev Roberts,
                                     Graham Orrin, Rex Neville,
                                     Alan Foster, Malcolm Livesey,
                                     Ian Letts, Tony Hanes
    administration:           Peter Franklin
    assistant:                   Norman Kauffman
    prod assistant:           Sally Hyman
    assistant editor:         Torquil Stewart

                                     produced at the studio of
                                     TVC London

    voices:                      John Clive (John)
                                     Geoffrey Hughes (Paul)
                                     Peter Batten (George)
                                     Paul Angelis (Ringo, Chief Blue Meanie)
                                     Dick Emery (Lord Mayor, Nowhere Man, Max)
                                     Lance Percival (Old Fred) 


      On the web

      Animation World
      There are lots of film reviews out there on the Great WWW, so I'll skip those
      and suggest this fine article from Animation World Magazine in 1998. It's
      text-only, but features some interesting reminiscences before detailing the
      on-going histories of the film's crew...

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© UA / King Features 1968 / F2009