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 (1,920×1,080 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!
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