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directed by George Dunning
UK 1968

 

The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release. Yellow Submarine 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. The film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame.

***

Inspired by Beatlemania, this was the first feature-length animated movie made in Britain for 14 years, and it seemed determined to give a break to all those valiant animators who had been sweating to produce under-budgeted shorts throughout the '60s. Which is doubtless why there's such a wide disparity of graphic styles from sequence to sequence. Some of them, though, still look terrific: director George Dunning's own contribution is the 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' fantasia, with swirling, colour-washed couples counterpointing the song in a totally unexpected way. Speculation: maybe the banality of the over-long 'Love Conquers All' finale has less to do with John Lennon than with Erich (Love Story) Segal, who had a hand in the script.

Excerpt from Time Out Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 17 July 1968

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Comparison: 

MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray

MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL LEFT vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  RIGHT

Box Covers

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 2,4 - PAL

Capitol / EMI

Region FREE - Blu-ray

The MGM Region 1 NTSC DVD is also out-of-print (and has been for a while) but many are available in auctions:

          

Runtime 1:26:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:29:47.340
Video

1.68:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.13 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,464,359,888 bytes

Feature: 31,972,564,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English DD 5.1 (448 kb/s), German DD 5.1 (448 kb/s), Italian DD 5.1 (448 kb/s), English DD 2.0 mono (some stereo) (192 kb/s), Commentary Track DD 2.0 (192 kb/s), Music Only Track DD 5.1 (448 kb/s)   Two Soundbite samples (in MP3) - HERE and HERE DTS-HD Master Audio English 4382 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4382 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Subtitles English, English for the Hearing Impaired, German, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Polish and none English, English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.68:1

Edition Details:
• Vintage featurette: The Mod Odyssey (7:38)
• Music-only track highlighting the film's score
• Three storyboarded sequences - including two not used in the final film:• Sea of Monsters (4:21) • Battle of the Monsters (Interactive) • Pepperland (Interactive)
• Original pencil drawings
• Behind-the-scenes photo gallery
• Interviews with crew and vocal talents: Paul Angelis (voice) (1:39), John Clive (voice) (2:04), Davi
• Collectible booklet
• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:37)

DVD Release Date: 14. Sept. 1999
Amaray keep case

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: Capitol

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,464,359,888 bytes

Feature: 31,972,564,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by John Coates and additional contribution by Heinz Edelmann

Vintage featurette: The Mod Odyssey (7:40)
• Three storyboarded sequences - including two not used in the final film:• Sea of Monsters (4:21) • Battle of the Monsters (Interactive) • Pepperland (Interactive)
• Original pencil drawings (8:33)
• Behind-the-scenes photo gallery
• Interviews with crew and vocal talents: Paul Angelis (voice) (1:39), John Clive (voice) (2:04), David Livesey (key animation) - 1:13, Millicent MacMillan (1:14),  Jack Stokes (3:44), Eric Segal (1:38)
• Collectible booklet
• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:45)

16 page booklet, reproductions of film cells of each of the four Beatles characters + stickers

Blu-ray Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Custom Fold Out Blu-ray case

Chapters 37

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: MGM - Blu-ray (May 2012): The official line on this is: "The Beatles' classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release. The film's songtrack album CD is also being re-issued.

Currently out of print, the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film's restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame.

Bonus features for the Yellow Submarine DVD and
Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled Mod Odyssey" (TRT: 7:30), the film's original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos. Both Digipak packages will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios).

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 recognized as a landmark achievement, revolutionizing a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.
"

My only additional comment would be that the video is fully mesmerizing but the lossless audio is incredible and I would have bought the disc solely for that. Fabulous Blu-ray package - the restoration is a huge success and this is strongly recommended!

 - Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Film:
Yellow Submarine is a psychedelic animated musical featuring The Beatles and their songs. Even though a lot of the film is either disjointed or draggy it has gained wide acceptance both commercially and critically. The highly colorful visuals are just incomparable as the music it features. Many of this films musical sequences showed up as music videos for the songs some decades later.

Video:
The letterboxed 1.68:1 image suffers from edge enhancement and lack of resolution throughout, some of which might be attributed to the way it was originally animated. The image is also not anamorphic, thus further reducing the sharpness and detail.

There have been several complaints about the framing of the feature which sometimes does indeed appear a little tight on the top and bottom. I suspect the opening credits, framed at around 1.45:1 are presented in full animation ratio. I have the opinion that animated films are best served in full animation ratio, but others prefer them matted to replicate the theatrical exhibition which I suspect this edition does.

On the bright side, the video image is quite vibrant in color which suits the film well, and yet there is very little visible chroma noise or pixelation in the stark red or blue areas this film contains. Grain shows up occasionally but never distracts.

When MGM re-master this title sometime in the future it should: a) be presented anamorphic and/or in full animation aspect ratio, b) contain less edge enhancement and c) be mastered in higher resolution. Up to then this disc will do, but it could have been better.

Audio:
For the 1999 international re-release of the film the original mono soundtrack was completely remixed to a full bodied surround soundtrack. This DVD has a 5.1 option as well as a 2 channel mono option, but there's a flaw: The mono soundtrack abruptly shifts to stereo at 24:43 and stays that way until 40:38 (although the first sound effect to confirm this does not come until 41:12). That's not all the trouble with the mono track. It has been mastered quite high and tends to distort. In any event the 5.1 soundtrack is quite entertaining but quite heavy on the bass unfortunately rendering some of it a little muddy. The songs have all been remastered too, and while some of the re-masters have odd EQ (Like "It's All Too Much"), some of the songs (Like "All You Need is Love") have never sounded as good!

Supplements:
For an MGM special edition this package is quite generous. The featurette, Mod Odyssey has some historical value but is otherwise a little thin. The interviews offer some insight on the production but are also a little short. I figure the commentary track has the most interesting information on offer. The theatrical trailer is also here in rather poor shape. For this film, having a music only option is important and it is in good quality as well. Overall very nice, if not extensive.

Packaging:
Ordinary looking packaging apart from the fact that the keep case is yellow, a nice gimmick.

The standard stuff:
The menus are animated and easy to follow. There are dubs in German and Italian, presented in 5.1 presumably prepared for the 1999 reissue. The subtitles included cover western and northern Europe, but for a region 2 release it should also have included subtitles for eastern Europe which has been ignored. I would not draw any marks off, however, for it.

 - Finnur E.


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MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


  MGM (Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL TOP vs. Capitol - Region FREE - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 



Box Covers

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 2,4 - PAL

Capitol / EMI

Region FREE - Blu-ray

The MGM Region 1 NTSC DVD is also out-of-print (and has been for a while) but many are available in auctions:

          




 

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Gary Tooze

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