By Gillian Gaar
It was the film whose raison d’être was to enable The Beatles to fulfill their movie contract with United Artists. Their previous films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, were commercial and critical successes, but the Fab Four found the process of filmmaking to be a grind. Still, they owed UA another film, and after spending two years trying to come up with a good idea, they were more than happy to hand over work on their third feature length movie, Yellow Submarine to a team of animators. It was the best of all possible worlds; The Beatles would become cartoons, and thus able to appear in a film without actually having to be there.
And despite The Beatles’ less than eager involvement, when the animated film was released in the summer of 1968 it quickly became a hit. The story of how The Beatles freed the artistic loving residents of Pepperland from the blight of the evil Blue Meanies was a simple good vs. evil tale that resonated with young and old alike, as did the film’s ultimate message that all you need is love. The film’s vibrant, colorful, pop art look also made it a quintessential artifact of the flower power era.
Fifty years on, the film’s release is being celebrated with limited theatrical screenings around the country during the month of July. For more information, please go to www.yellowsubmarine.com.
Read the rest of the Yellow Submarine story in the August 2018 issue of Goldmine (shown below), available at select Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and indie record stores.