Last Tuesday saw the American release on Blu-Ray and DVD of Martin Scorsese's 2011 documentary on the life of George Harrison, Living in the Material World. That notable title, however, isn't the only Beatles-related film coming to home video. On June 5, the Fabs' delightfully trippy 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine will be reissued on DVD and make its Blu-Ray debut in a brand-new transfer. That same day, the 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack CD will also see a remastered reissue. Directed by George Dunning, the whimsical cartoon was designed by Heinz Edelmann and featured original Beatles songs on its soundtrack. The band members themselves were voiced by John Clive (John), Geoffrey Hughes (Paul), Peter Batten (George) and Paul Angelis (Ringo).
The Beatles' Apple label has confirmed that the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution by the Triage Motion Picture Services team led by Paul Rutan Jr. What, exactly, does that mean for laymen? 4K is an emerging standard for resolution in the digital medium, so named for its 4,000-pixel horizontal resolution. (This isn't to be confused with the designation used by the digital television industry, which represents the vertical pixel count). In other words, 4K is being primed as the next step in high resolution video, with its proponents ready to see the 4K standard replace the current 1080i/p (1,920x1,080 pixels) as the highest-resolution signal available for movies and perhaps television, as well. The indispensable CNet offers more explanation here, but in other words, Yellow Submarine has been restored at a higher standard than before and its sparkling colors should appear more vivid than ever. (Actual 4K televisions should arrive this year from brands like LG and Toshiba.)
What else will set the new releases apart from the past editions? Hit the jump!
Rutan's team has restored Yellow Submarine frame-by-frame, by hand, and the film will, of course, be presented in its original 1:66:1 aspect ratio. Bonus material for the DVD and Blu-ray includes the Mod Odyssey documentary featurette, plus the original trailer, interview clips with some of the film's personnel, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos. Audio commentary is offered by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann. Most of these features appeared on MGM's 1999 DVD, although that release included a music-only option (no dialogue) that does not appear to be included on the reissue. Both the DVD and Blu-Ray will be housed in digipaks containing reproductions of animated cels from the film plus a 16-page booklet in which John Lasseter, animation chief at Walt Disney Studios and Pixar, offers a new essay. Rather than new special features, the selling point here is the 4K resolution, in addition the upgraded packaging and the image and sound quality that Blu-Ray can offer.
As for the remastered Yellow Submarine Songtrack, the new edition will join the other recent Beatles catalogue remasters. For the 1999 Songtrack, the songs from Yellow Submarine were remixed from the original multi-track tapes, so there are numerous differences to the familiar versions of songs such as "Yellow Submarine," "Eleanor Rigby," "All Together Now" and "Only a Northern Song." The Songtrack features nearly every Beatles song in the film ("A Day in the Life" is not included) but drops George Martin's seven instrumental score tracks from the Beatles' original Yellow Submarine release. That album, of course, was included in the first wave of Beatles remasters in 2009.
Finally, collectors might be interested in Candlewick Press' new, compact hardcover edition of the Yellow Submarine picture book which arrived in stores on April 24. The 40-page book is available at general retail and at the Beatles Store. An interactive digital version of the book is available as a free download on Apple's iBookstore for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
You can take the voyage to Pepperland when Yellow Submarine emerges on DVD and Blu-Ray from Apple on June 5. The Songtrack arrives the same day, and all three titles can be pre-ordered below!
Yellow Submarine (Apple, 1968 - reissued 2012, available on DVD and Blu-Ray)
Special features include:
- Mod Odyssey documentary [TRT: 7:30]
- Original theatrical trailer [TRT: 3:30]
- Storyboard sequences: Sea of Monsters (split screen footage) [TRT: 4:20], Battle of the Monsters [118 images], Pepperland [64 images]
- Interviews: Paul Angelis (voice of Ringo and Chief Blue Meanie) [TRT: 1:39], John Clive (voice of John) [TRT: 2:03], David Livesey (key animator) [TRT: 1:11], Millicent McMillan (Heinz Edelmann's assistant) [TRT: 1:12], Jack Stokes (animation director) [TRT: 3:42], Erich Segal (co-writer) [TRT: 1:38]
- 29 original pencil drawings
- 30 behind-the-scenes photos
The Beatles, Yellow Submarine Songtrack (Apple, 1999 - reissued 2012)
- Yellow Submarine
- Hey Bulldog
- Eleanor Rigby
- Love You To
- All Together Now
- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
- Think For Yourself
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- With A Little Help From My Friends
- Baby, You're A Rich Man
- Only A Northern Song
- All You Need Is Love
- When I'm Sixty-Four
- Nowhere Man
- It's All Too Much
So does the Songtrack contain a remastered version of the 1999 remixes or the 2009 remasters?
Joe Marchese says
The 1999 remixes have been remastered for this edition.
Simon Franklin says
What about Let It Be on DVD?!!!!!!!
Brian from Canada says
Apple's saying 2014 or 2015.
2012 is the re-release of the out-of-print Magical Mystery Tour on DVD and Blu.
2013, being the anniversary of Beatlemania, may see the Washington concert on DVD or some other big release, which is why Let It Be was pushed from 2013 into the next year.
About. F*cking. Time.
I was so mad when I decided to finally buy Yellow Submarine on DVD about 10 years ago, only to find it had quietly gone out of print. Never understood why. Of course, having the blu-ray with the new resolution more or less makes up for that.
And I'm with Simon... How about releasing Let It Be in our lifetimes? I wouldn't mind if a DVD/Blu of Shea Stadium, or all the Beatles promo clips, were released either.
See...the albums proper needed remastering. The 1999 remixes, not so much. What's next, "Let It Be Naked Remastered"??? Think I'll be sticking with my original Songtrack...
Jason Michael says
Some audiophiles feel that the 1999 remixes and "Let It Be...Naked" could use a remaster because they suffer from compression and noise reduction (as do the mid-90s "Anthology" volumes). The Apple team changed their mastering philosophy when they did the 2009 remasters (actually I think this began with the "Love" project) and the result has been far better received than the 1990's era mastering.
I am really looking forward to getting the DVD or Blu-Ray. I held off when it was first released to DVD and, like Shaun, was ticked to find it deleted very quickly after release. All the copies I found on eBay seemed a little dodgy, so I've been waiting for another legit release. I think I would've enjoyed the music only track, though. Too bad it has been eliminated on this release.
Apparently they haven't changed their philosophy so much, at least regarding YS, since what is being remastered is the 1999 remix.
I simply can't believe they're putting out a remaster of the 1999 version. What major sonic discoveries have occurred in the last 13 years?
Thinking again, I should hardly be surprised.
If you look around, every 10-or-so years anything that has been remastered gets another go at it.
Music doesn't have anything to do with it, it's just the industry that HAS to perpetuate itself.
It's just business.
Jason Michael says
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "they haven’t changed their philosophy so much, at least regarding YS, since what is being remastered is the 1999 remix" since that is what I said. They changed their philosophy of mastering, not mixing, so they will be using the new (1999) remixes and mastering without compression and noise reduction so it should breath better and sound closer to the master tapes than the 1999 release. So the "sonic discovery" should be more music on the tape that isn't suppressed by excessive tinkering by the mastering team. If they were just putting it out with the original mixes as on the 2009 CDs, it would already be available to us from those discs. This will enable us to get the Songtrack with a uniform mastering to the 2009 editions.
Of course, this is just conjecture and we won't know the result until we get the disc. It could sound identical to the 1999 version. But the mastering on the mono and stereo boxes from 2009 as well as the "Love" disc is far better than the 1999 YS Songtrack or the (really awful) "Let It Be...Naked". There's way too much processing used on those projects.
Still.. it's a shame.. I was at a record store and found planty of used copies of the Songtrack from 1999. Why on earth wouldn't THIS project, which after all featured outstanding 5.1 remixes not have been issued on DVD-A or Blu Ray with the 14 songs in multichannel mixes. We've shown we'll pay.. must we wait now 50 years for the goods? As for Let It Be... the film has already been out.. put someone in charge of it and lets see it!!!
I am holding out for the 78 RPM version, pressed on materials from recycled 1940's records. That was the artists original intent. The Beatles wanted this to sound like it would on a submarine.
Absolutely. Until this happens, true Beatle fans will have to make do with theJapanese needledrop remaster on 21.6 IPS reel-to-reel (thank God for all-region players). If you haven't heard that version of "Yellow Submarine" through a set of Sennheiser 5000 headphones colored with a green magic marker, then frankly, get out of my face--you've never heard the Beatles.
Capt. Jack Plummer says
Indeed! The green magic marker increases fidelity, extends bandwidth, and gives it an authentic "60's" feel.
Capt. Jack Plummer
Mark Zutkoff says
The 1999 DVD (which was instrumental - no pun intended - in getting me to buy a DVD player at the time, though it was Excalibur that really drove the purchase) is non-anamorphic, so getting a truly anamorphic image is equally a benefit of the new Blu-Ray release.
The real question to me is whether the deleted American footage (featuring a hokey but more robust "Beatles to battle!" cry) will be included in the package. The movie, quite rightly, has the "Hey Bulldog" sequence in its place, but I'd like the missing footage to be available in some form.
As for the songtrack album, it was good, but I regretted that the extra work of bringing some of what the mono Sgt. Pepper album had on some of the songs (such as the warbling chorus at the end of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"), or the extra verse in the movie version of "It's All Too Much", was not included.
Any word if there are 5.1 mixes being released? All of these songs are featured in 5.1 on the original DVD release
They really should have let Giles Martin remix the Songtrack. Those 1999 mixes are really unmusical; poorly balanced. The vocals are so overmixed, even more than the vintage mixes.
Almost forgot, the "Eleanor Rigby" vocal slips out of sync by the end of the song in the 1999 remix. I think even more songs have elements out of sync to my ears.
Sean Anglum says
Too bad they couldn't have gotten really crazy and given a thought to us collectors. An inclusion of the Rock Band version of "Hey Bulldog" would have been Fab! If you haven't heard it yet, go directly over to You Tube (or to your closest Rock Band game!). The better the playback system, the better the experience. This mix (Giles, I'm assuming) breaths new life into the song...it ROCKS! Give it a listen. Beautiful.
I think the CD must be out, now. Can somebody shine a definitive light on what mixes are used (1999 or 2009) and what mastering (1999, 2009 or 2012)
John Lash LaRue says
I loved the 5.1 mixes from '99. Why do they always shortchange us on Martin's score? I'd slip that on sometimes in my youth just cuz it was weird, but it's actually great stuff. GM was at the top of his game then (5th Beatle & all).
2009 Yellow Submarine sounds better, this is lacking depth and dynamics. It's doesn't sound like the classic beatles; it sounds too clean...like polished modern beiber shit (exaggerating...but you get the point). The vocals are loud as hell and the loudness is a lil painful.