Wednesday, January 4, 2023

It's All in the Mind: Inside The Beatles' Yellow Submarine Volume 2 -- a book review


I have been on a Yellow Submarine kick lately.  I have been collecting quite a bit of vintage YS memorabilia and watching the film.   So I finally got around to buying the book It's All in the Mind:  Inside the Beatles, Yellow Submarine volume 2  by Dr.  Robert R. Hieronimus and Laura Cortner over my holiday break from work. 

Volume 1 of the book was published back in 2002, and I remember reading it and thinking it was really good.   I should have read that book again before I started because they refer back to the first book many times.  So my first recommendation is to read the first book before the second one.  

The first chapter of the book was really strange.   The authors were trying to make some deep connections between the Yellow Submarine and the Egyptian pyramids or something.  I didn't get it at all and was concerned that the entire book would be like that. However, let me assure you that after that initial section, the rest of the book is excellent.

I did not realize that before the 1968 movie, the Yellow Submarine was used as a symbol of peace all around the United States, and there was even a Church of the Yellow Submarine.  

Most of the book recounts the behind-the-scenes stories of the unnamed animators (because their names weren't in the credits), ink and paint girls, and artists involved in making the film.    While there is very little information about The Beatles themselves, I found the stories of these young men and women working in swinging London in 1967-1968 to be a lot of fun.   Their stories also gave me some new insights into how the animation process of Yellow Submarine was innovative and different from other animated films at the same time.  I really enjoyed the colored photographs throughout the book of those working on the film in 1968. In a time when people did not carry cameras around with them, the snapshots of the employees working on Yellow Submarine were absolute treasures. 

To be interested in this book, you will need to have a real interest in animation or a love of the Yellow Submarine film.   This is a true deep dive into the movie and has many interesting stories on how the film was made.   We all know that The Beatles themselves had very little to do with the Yellow Submarine, so it shouldn't be a shock that they are just bit players in this book.  

It was a very delightful read for me, and I recommend it to those who want to know more about this great film. 

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