Yellow Submarine

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Details At A Glance

Category Fantasy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.66:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1968 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - John Coates (Production Supervisor) and Heinz Edelman (Designer/Art Director)
Running Time
86:19 minutes
(not 89 minutes as shown on packaging) 
Other Extras Booklet
Featurette - The Mod Odyssey (7 mins)
Isolated Musical Score 
Main Menu Animation and Music
Original Pencil Drawings
Photograph Gallery
Storyboard sequences
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (24:42)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director George Dunning

Warner Home Video
Starring Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (a.k.a The Beatles)
RRP $34.95 Music The Beatles

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Yellow Submarine - just how do you synopsise this animation classic from the height of the psychedelic era of the late 1960's?

    Broadly speaking it is the story of The Beatles saving Pepperland from the attack of The Blue Meanies. Beyond that, you take a wild guess at what was trying to be communicated here. No matter how many times I watch it, I am still unable to make much sense of it. Clearly of piece of art heavily based on the period which spawned it, perhaps the use of LSD (popular at the time) would aid understanding (not that I would recommend that to anyone of course).

    Instead of trying to understand it, I just try and enjoy it - and if you listen there are some terrible jokes and puns to laugh at. I also just enjoy the music of arguably the greatest band to ever commit a song to vinyl.

Transfer Quality


    It has to be said that MGM have done a pretty sterling job with the restoration of the film.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, but is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Being predominantly animation, general concepts of clarity and definition pretty much go out of the window. However, there is nothing of serious concern in the presentation here as far as clarity and definition is concerned, and I doubt that this has ever looked as good before.

    This is an absolute riot of colour which has generally come up very vividly, with only some minor concerns about oversaturation of colour and colour bleed - both of which are more than likely inherent in the original print.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts or video artefacts during the film. Film artefacts were generally not a problem at all, especially given the age of the original print, and were only quite prevalent during the live action part of the film at the end. They did not distract from the film.

    This is a RSDL format disc, with the layer change coming very early at 24:42. Whilst the change is quite noticeable, it is not at all disruptive to the film at all, despite the fade to grey which I do not recall from the original film. Its positioning seems oddly chosen and I have to question why the film was not mastered solely on one layer of the disc, with the extras on the other, given that it is not an especially long film.


    Much is claimed about this being a remastered 5.1 soundtrack, but quite frankly I find it a flawed remastering, being far too bass heavy.

    There are six soundtracks on the DVD: three Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in English (the default), German and Italian together with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono) soundtrack, an English audio commentary soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 and an isolated music soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English 5.1 soundtrack, the English audio commentary soundtrack and sampled the isolated music score.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

    Audio sync is a little irrelevant in this sort of animation.

    The score basically comprises songs by The Beatles, predominantly from their "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" album, with some incidental music put together by George Martin. At the end of the day, this is what the film is all about and comes up very well indeed, subject to the proviso of the remastering being too bass heavy.

    The remastered soundtrack is very well balanced and has some nice detail out of the rear channels.

    Unfortunately, the remastered soundtrack is far too bass heavy and detracts from the enjoyment of the film in my view. I found the film to be far more palatable by switching the amp to prologic mode - still nice detail in the soundtrack but with the bass pretty much cut out of the music.

    Of interest regarding the sound is the fact that the credits state that the film is a six channel DTS remastering. Does this suggest that a future re-release with a DTS encoded soundtrack will be in the offing?


    A quite appealing collection of extras from MGM on this one, especially given the age of the film.


    The first effort into menu animation and audio I have seen from MGM in Region 4, and whilst not that great, a nice change nonetheless.

Theatrical trailer

    Be warned - the quality is not that good.

Audio commentary - John Coates (Production Supervisor) and Heinz Edelman (Designer/Art Director)

    Not too bad a commentary, although it sounds as if they are reading from a script given the paper rustling going on in the background and it does not bear much relationship to what's going on in the film. John Coates is not especially engaging, and there are a few gaps in the commentary, but overall he does give some interesting insights into the putting together of the film.

Featurette - The Mod Odyssey

    Not especially memorable and the video quality leaves a little to be desired.

Interviews - Crew

    These are mainly shortish replies to a single question, some more interesting than others. Dread to think what the film would have looked like if The Purple Meanies had won the decision.

Original Pencil Drawings

    Some sadly unannotated pencil drawings for the design of portions of the film, not especially memorable.

Storyboard Sequences

    Three sequences of the film, split screened showing the storyboards and the resultant final film. Aficionados of such film technicalities would find these interesting but they leave me a little cold. A worthwhile addition nonetheless.

Photograph Gallery


R4 vs R1

    There does not appear to be any difference between Region 1 and Region 4, which were released pretty much simultaneously, so there is no reason to prefer one version to the other.


    Yellow Submarine is one film that I have never been able to come to grips with, but is worth a view if only to hear the music.

    The overall video quality is very good.

    The overall audio quality is reasonable.

    The extras are good especially considering the age of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
26th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL