UK Animated Movie (1968). Apple/King Features/United Artists. Pr Al Brodax. Dir George Dunning. Screenplay Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, Lee Minoff, Erich Segal. Voice actors Paul Angelis (Ringo/Head Blue Meanie), Peter Batten (George), John Clive (John), Dick Emery (Lord Mayor/Max/Jeremy Hillary Booby, the Nowhere Man), Geoffrey Hughes (Paul), Lance Percival (Old Fred). 87 mins. Colour.
A surreal Fantasyland called Pepperland comes under the tyranny of the Blue Meanies, deploying a monstrous flying creature (The Glove) and a variety of missiles, including bright green apples, that leach colour from the land and its people, petrifying the latter. Old Fred takes the ancestral Yellow Submarine in search of help, finds The Beatles in Liverpool, and brings them back through various adventures to Pepperland; en route they pick up the Nowhere Man as an ally. In Pepperland they impersonate Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, restore colour to the domain, and beat the Blue Meanies into submission with a barrage of hippy sentiments and Beatles numbers.
Psychedelic animation to a backing of old Beatles songs might seem a grim prospect, but YS is surprisingly enjoyable, with a constant stream of visual and conceptual fantasy notions tripping from the screen. The influences of Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dalí, though much diluted, are evident. The "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" sequence, done in a much different, far more Impressionistic style than the rest (although in the same livid colours), is striking. The movie had its genesis in the popular US animated tv series The Beatles (1965-1967), produced by Brodax. [JG]