A new, digitally-remastered version of The Beatles’ classic animated movie Yellow Submarine is returning to cinemas for the first time since 1999. The new film is set to play in UK and Ireland cinemas via an event-style release on 8 July, 2018 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its original release. Tickets are due to go on sale on Tuesday, 17 April.
Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature.
Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.” When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognised as a landmark achievement, revolutionising a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.
Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.
“I thought from the very beginning that the film should be a series of interconnected shorts” remembers Edelmann. “The style should vary every five minutes or so to keep the interest going until the end.” These styles included melding live-action photography with animation, 3-dimensional sequences and kaleidoscopic “rotoscoping” where film is traced frame by frame into drawings. The entire process took nearly two years, 14 different scripts, 40 animators and 140 technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation.
The Beatles performed the songs for the film but their cartoon characters are voiced by actors. The quartet does appear in the closing scene of the film, however. The restoration was supervised by Paul Rutan Jr. and a team including Chris Dusendschon, Rayan Raghuram and Randy Walker. The work was reportedly done by hand, a single frame at a time by 40 to 60 trained digital artists over several months.