Milestones call for celebration—or in the case of Yellow Submarine, which has its 50th anniversary this month, a good ol’ fashioned restoration.
The animated musical fantasy—ostensibly made for children, but with surrealistic, psychedelic animations by George Dunning, appealing to adults of both the square and acid-eating varieties—was inspired by the 1966 Beatles song of the same name, and culls select other tracks from that seminal rock band’s catalog to soundtrack and illustrate its story: A group of musicians (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) embarks on an underwater adventure through wildly surreal and tripped-out seascapes to save their Pepperland paradise from the music-hating Blue Meanies who’ve invaded and drained all the love, peace, and color from the place.
Other than the film’s use of their likenesses (and their music), the Beatles were barely involved in its making; the project fulfilled a three-film contract to United Artists, and their sole live-action cameo in the final scene satisfied their contractual obligation to actually appear in the film. But it’s arguably the best of all the Beatles films, and seeing a thoroughly remastered (i.e., more remastered than the 2012 remaster) version on the big screen will be a rare treat. It plays at SIFF Cinema Egyptian tonight through July 23.
Here's a trailer for the restored film—looks pretty pristine, right?