Saturday, February 04, 2006
Weekend views No.3 (University of Whales)
A lovely thing happened today when I sat down to work in the kitchen...following a conversation last week, I dug out an old VHS copy of one of my all-time faves: Yellow Submarine.
Now, in the days before I sampled erm...herbal remedies of various descriptions, I saw this little beauty on the TV and dreamed of how, when I was old enough to fry my synapses, I would gain access to such a technicolour world. How wrong I was. Yet, for some reason, this combination of Milton Glaser graphics and the absolute cream of Brit Psych (apart from the mighty Syd) remains unassailable in the moptops' celluloid career. Andy Partridge once described this as "chicken soup for the soul" and, for my generation, I think it's true. It works as a fantastic kids movie, but, like all kids classics, it stays with you for the rest of your life.
Yes, even despite knowing that the voices weren't done by the fab four themselves, I still regard this as THE Beatles movie. It cherry-picks their finest lysergic moments from 1965 onward; it works the songs into the meager yet inoffensive plot AND it has Lance Percival as Young Fred and Dick Emery as everyone else! I must have seen it 20 times and I still giggle at the exchange : "Look, a school of whales!", "They look too old to be at school", "A university, then", "University of whales?"
Interestingly it was directed by George Dunning, the Toronto-born animator who worked with Norman Mclaren in the 40s, who never seemed to do anything following this. Wonder what happened to him (see comments:)?