Restorer of Beatles Film ‘Yellow Submarine’ Talks ‘State of the Art’ Version Coming to Big Screen For 50th Anniversary
The animated film Yellow Submarine has been shown a lot of love from both The Beatles and the public in its 50 years since its release in 1968. Starting today (July 9), to celebrate the movie’s 50th anniversary, fans in the U.S. will be treated to theater screenings of the best-looking version of the film they’ve ever seen….
When the film was originally released a half-century ago, the expectations weren’t high for it, according to Beatles historian and author Bruce Spizer. “No one really expected much from the Yellow Submarine feature-length cartoon,” he offers. “The Beatles were not enthusiastic about the film, perhaps concerned over how they were depicted in the [U.S. Saturday morning] cartoon series. United Artists refused to count the cartoon as the third Beatles film under its contract with the group, agreeing only to serve as the distributor for the movie. But when it came out, the film exceeded all expectations. It was psychedelic, hip and funny. Visually it was like a Peter Max painting come to life. It was full of countless puns. Its message was the power of music and love.”
“When Yellow Submarine was first released back in 1968, it was understood as a kind of ‘head movie,’ the sort of film you go to see after dosing yourself in advance with hallucinogens,” Dr. Kenneth Womack, Dean of Social Studies and Humanities at Monmouth University and author of several Beatles books, tells Billboard. His books on the Fab Four include a two-volume biography of the group’s producer Sir George Martin of which the second volume, Sound Pictures, will be published in September.
“But at the same time, it presaged today’s animated masterworks, where fun-loving characters and their colorful environs delight children, while the screenplay is laden with just enough sophisticated humor and punning wordplay to capture adult imaginations,” he continues. “The upgrades to the film, including the digital treatment of the music and the animation, have rendered Yellow Submarine into a much sharper and more engrossing experience. For viewers who have seen the movie in its various incarnations since its premiere, each new version has breathed fresh life into the film, making for an evolving experience that pays dividends with each subsequent viewing.”
“Yellow Submarine serves as the perfect way for fans to introduce The Beatles to their children and grandchildren, or just to share the experience with them,” Spizer says. “The film is as fresh, clever and exciting 50 years on as it was in 1968. It’s all in the mind, you know.”
Spizer will be introducing the film at several screenings July 13 through 15 at the Prytania Theatre in New Orleans.
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