Bob Hieronimuss book is an eye-opener. When he first told me he was writing about the making of the Yellow Submarine, I assumed it would be one of those gossamer puffball showbiz numbers that seem to clog our bookstores. How wrong I was! He has created something more significant than perhaps even he himself realizes. The only thing that comes close to it is John Gregory Dunnes The Studio (1969). This is probably a more important work than the film it documents.
Perhaps the secret of his success is his use of first-person narratives which provide more than ample corroboration of the adage that movies are not written -- but rewritten.
I played a small part in this panorama of vanities but I did not know how small until I read this book. I had blithely assumed that I was the last re-writer on the project and took some satisfaction that I had put the film to bed. Now, thirty years after the fact, I discover that there were a handful of successors after my definitive version. Indeed while I was in London slaving away at the script, there was someone slaving away equally hard on the West Coast of America. Hieronimuss book is certainly spellbinding, especially since no words are put in other peoples mouths. No one can, therefore, complain, to have been misquoted. I myself was fascinated to find some of them claiming to have written lines I remember clearly having fashioned myself.
Is it déjá vu? or déjá écrit? Or perhaps merely waning memories that always tend to put the witness closer to the center stage than he really was.
The Yellow Submarine, marked a milestone in my life. It was the first filmscript that I wrote or -- to be correct -- rewrote, that actually made it to celluloid. For this I will always be grateful to Big Al Brodax & Co. He gets a pretty bad rap onto these pages but -- give the man a break -- he held the thing together and got it on the screen!
I think this is an important book. It proves that dominant muse in movies is not greed but ego. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity. Ecclesiastes was right!
With almost as many villains as heroes, Bob Hieronimus has made a substantial contribution to the history of film. As the author persuasively demonstrates, his chronicle should really be called The Cobbling of the Yellow Submarine.
--by Erich Segal, Ph.D.
One of the Writers on Yellow Submarine