Every fool knows that the Dave Clark Five were the most successful band to ever roam the face of this our planet Earth. Their name is synonymous not only with the swinging sixties, but with pop music itself. It is them we have to thank for literally millions of billions of trillions of songs; songs that we sing in the bath, the shower and on the bog, pooing in time with the catchy idiosyncratic melodies.
The DC5 were not only Britain’s foremost popstars, they also made a bunch of films, including this animated psychedelic classic, Yellow Submarine. Drawing from the group’s extensive catalogue of hit records, the film was based on a their finest work, their masterpiece, their greatest gift to the artistic cannon of the human race: a shitty cod nursery rhyme sung by the drummer.
This 1968 arthouse magnum opus happened to be showing at a cultural centre not 20 blocks from my house and I availed myself of the opportunity to swing by. Since Old Rope believes moving drawings to be an affront to god, and furthermore one that can make your brain overheat and explode, I elected not to watch the film itself. Rather I confined myself to reading the Spanish subtitles. From this I could hazard a guess as to the film’s content.
Largely spoken in Aramaic, the plot focuses on the travails of a fictional group, not altogether dissimilar to the Dave Clark Five (DCF), and their attempts to sanitise the world. In a universe populated with lunatics and bedlam, our heroes must insert rods up backsides and make sure everyone gets a proper job and returns to their natural place in society.
Since DCF were unavailable or unwilling to disentangle themselves from London’s more exclusive opium dens, a number of former US presidents were exhumed to voice the protagonists.
As Benjamin Franklin croaks “Hey, fellas, look at this fab moteycar!” and Roosevelt chirps “Gear!” through a dusty, wormy voice, it is almost impossible to distinguish them from the real deal. It is exactly as though the DCF are in the cinema with you, synchronising their own voices with the moving pictures.
I shant spoil the ending, but suffice to say that there is a parade of rheumatic lepers, a horse with three willies and a banana that talks (possibly the illusive and never-explained allegorical “Yellow Submarine” of the title?). Goodness, it was enough to remind me of college and my own ill-spent youth, time divided between a gang of lepers, talking to a banana and looking at horses willies. Happy days indeed.
From what I could discern from the faces of those around me, the drawings were well rendered, and perfectly captured the straight-laced, uptight style of the time. Indeed the slight drooling of one viewer positively cried out “I am watching a perfect period piece”.
With cast-iron casting, high-art visuals and lashings of DCF’s finest concertos, it is a unfathomable that Yellow Submarine failed to win more awards (a mere 14 Oscars seems an insult in its paucity). I enjoyed not watching it immensely.