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I Bet You Didn't See... The Yellow Submarine

Updated: Jan 6


This is probably my all-time favourite movie. It's one of those that just takes me back to my childhood, watching insane, wacky and campy animation filled with Beatle-esque one-liners all the way through. I would happily watch this time after time and never get tired of it. I laugh every time and I can quote every joke. I will try and avoid that here!

The basic story is that The Beatles - John Lennon (John Clive), Paul McCartney (Geoffrey Hughes), George Harrison (Peter Batten, Paul Anglis) and Ringo Starr (Angelis) - are asked to save Pepperland from an invasion by the Blue Meanies. Music is banned under the Meanies, who freeze the citizens of Pepperland by silencing music and dropping apples on their heads, and terrorise everyone with "The Dreadful Flying Glove". I can see you are following this very well.

The Sea of Monsters

The Fab-Four travel with Lord Admiral Fred (Lance Percival) in a yellow submarine through several different and trippy "seas" before arriving in Pepperland for the final battle. There, they meet Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (their look-a-likes). Now, this is where I get upset because some of the versions of the film cut the scenes there the two bands meet and interact. Fortunately, I have a copy that has not cut this sequence.

"We Meanies only take NO for an answer!"

All through the film, the trippy and bold animation makes the film all the more lovable. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is a classic one where the animators have taken Ringo's story of it being based on a drawing his daughter did that she titled the same, but also running with the theme of the LSD-based theory the song carries. Beatles' classics from the time come bounding out but I implore you to make sure you see the version where Hey Bulldog is NOT cut. For years I always felt that there was something odd about a particular sequence, and within the last 10 years (I'm 31 and I have known this film through my living memory) I learned that there was this cut scene! I love Hey Bulldog and I feel it was a mistake to get rid of it.

Jeremy Hilary Boob, Ph.D.

The one-liners are a wonderful homage to the Liverpudlians' wit and humour. Some of my favourite lines are;

John: It's blue glass.
Ringo: Must be from Kentucky.

and, while in the Sea of Holes;

Jeremy: There are simply no holes in my education.
Paul: You mean you haven't composed a "hole" book?

I could go on, but I won't. Otherwise you'll have the entire film script!!!

"O-BLUE-terate them!"

Interestingly, the band didn't lend their own voices to the film. As stated in this article from BBC Culture, the band were not fans of a television series in the US at the time and felt the idea was plain rubbish. However, they loved it afterwards and do appear at the end. That article is an interesting read.

I love this film so much. It's just bonkers and fun. If you try and take it seriously, you are going to turn it off after the first few minutes. Relax, get a drink, a few friends and your loudest singing voice and enjoy it!

It is just a wonderful spectacle for the sense and I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen. It would have been amazing. I suggest you watch this as soon as you can!

Directed by: George Dunning

Written by: Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, John Mendelsohn, Erish Segal, Roger McGough

Based on: "Yellow Submarine" song by Lennon & McCartney

Starring: Paul Angelis, John Clive, Dick Emery, Geoffrey Hughes, Lance Percival

Released: July 17, 1968

My Rating: 10/10

"I've got a hole in my pocket" - Ringo

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