Cast and Crew: George Dunning (Director), Heinz Edelmann (Art Direction); George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
What It’s About: In this early “grown-up” animated feature, utopian Pepperland is under assault by the music-hating Blue Meanies. A magical yellow submarine escapes to retrieve The Beatles to come to the rescue. The comic adventure plot isn’t too drastically different from The Beatles’ earlier feature films (Help!, A Hard Day’s Night), but the change from live-action to animation makes the movie significantly more psychedelic and eclectic; it’ll feel extremely familiar to fans of Peter Max or Terry Gilliam. Such psychedelic classics as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” feature prominently. (The “Lucy” sequences, which feature rotoscoped images of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, are among the film’s most beautiful.) Warning: do not watch this film if you have a negative reaction to strobe effects (e.g., because of epilepsy).
Why Watch it Today?: The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show occurred on this date fifty years ago. That was the catalyst for Beatlemania striking the United States. If you’re a Beatles fan who hasn’t watched this movie in a long time, consider watching it again: the sequence for “Hey Bulldog,” part of the original British release of the film, only made it into the US version in 1999.