May 21, 2024


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The Beatles' “Let It Be” is headed to Disney+, restored by Peter Jackson

The Beatles' “Let It Be” is headed to Disney+, restored by Peter Jackson

For decades, the attitude toward the “Let It Be” documentary in the Beatles camp was: “May he rest in peace.” But the film will finally be seen again. A restored version of the 1970 film will soon be available on Disney+, the same service that brought fans “The Beatles: Get Back,” Peter Jackson's 2021 docuseries that used excerpts from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's original film.

The documentary will be re-premiering on Disney+ on May 8, and it's sure to be a special day for Beatles fans who spent most of their lives wondering if they'd ever be let out of the vault again. Not only has the 1970 film been dusted off, but it has been restored by Peter Jackson's Park Road Post Production using the same technique used to make the old footage in “The Beatles: Get Back” look as fresh as it did.

The original film was famously the one item in the Beatles' catalog that Apple seemed to want to suppress rather than exploit. “Let It Be” has not been officially circulated in any form since the early 1980s, although muddy-looking bootleg copies are widely available. These shoes are lifted from the VHS and LaserDisc releases that emerged in the early days of the home video revolution; The film has never been released in the era of DVD, let alone Blu-Ray or streaming.

Jackson used hours of snippets of Lindsay-Hogg footage to put together “The Beatles: Get Back.” During the publicity campaign for this project, he repeatedly pledged that his new treatment of the material was intended to complement the original film, not replace it forever, and that the original document would eventually be seen again so that it could stand as companion pieces.

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“I'm thrilled that Michael's film, Let It Be, has been restored and finally re-released after being unavailable for decades,” Jackson said in a statement. “I was very fortunate to have access to Michael's snippets of 'Get Back', and I always thought 'Let It Be' was essential to completing the story of 'Get Back.'” Over three parts, we showed Michael and the Beatles filming a documentary New, and “Let It Be” is that documentary – the film they released in 1970. Now I think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades The two projects support each other and reinforce each other: “Let It Be” is a culmination While “Get Back” provides vital context missing for “Let It Be” Michael Lindsay-Hogg was tirelessly helpful and generous during the filming of “Get Back”, and it is only right that his original film should have the final say… “It looks and sounds much better than it did in 1970.”

Jackson said during the “Come Back” campaign. diverse He believes that “Let It Be” has been unfairly labeled as depressing, partly because it was released in the immediate aftermath of the Beatles' breakup, but also because the color scheme of the 16mm film, as released in 1970, had A gloomy appearance that gave way to a pessimistic interpretation. “Get Back” had a more lively look, and that seems likely to apply to what Jackson's team did with the original elements of “Let It Be” now as well.

Furthermore, Jackson's team faced a new problem with the sound for the 1970 film. A press release stated, “With Lindsay-Hogg's full support, Apple Corps asked Peter Jackson's Park Road Post Production to dive into a meticulous restoration of the film from The original 16mm negative, which included lovingly re-mastering the audio using the same MAL mix technology that was applied to the “Get Back” docuseries.

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Lindsay Hogg expressed his approval of the new efforts in a statement. “Let It Be was ready for publication in October/November 1969, but it wasn’t released until April 1970,” he recalls. “One month before it came out, the Beatles officially broke up. So people went to see 'Let It Be' with sadness in their hearts, thinking: 'I'll never see the Beatles together again.' I'll never have that joy again, and it got dark. The movie a lot but, in reality, how often do you see artists of this stature working together to turn what they hear in their heads into songs and then it comes to the surface, and you see their excitement and their camaraderie and their sheer joy in playing together again as a group and knowing, as we do now, that it was the time? The last one, and we look at it with a full understanding of who they were and are and a little bit of emotion. I was blown away by what Peter was able to do in Get Back, using all the footage I shot 50 years ago.

Lindsay-Hogg explained the new restoration process in an article interview With the New York Times published Tuesday. “When Peter first showed me some restored photos of the film, one of them was of a Beatles couple from behind, and their hair originally looked very messy,” the director noted. “Then he said, 'Now, let me show you what we've been working on.'” It was the same shot, but you could see the individual strands of hair. The new version is a 21st-century version of a 20th-century film. It's certainly brighter and more vibrant than it ended up being It's on video. “It now looks like it was supposed to come out in 1969 or 1970, although Peter gave it a more cinematic look at my request from 'Get Back' which had a slightly more modern digital look.”

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Not only did some viewers of the 1970 film, but some of the Beatles themselves seemed to take a dim view of the film's depiction of some tense interactions during the making of what ended up being the “Let It Be” album. It will be interesting to see if Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr might now offer a more positive assessment akin to Jackson's recent-day praise.

Other restoration efforts for the film reportedly began in the 1990s and again in the 2000s, with an eye toward a possible DVD or theatrical release. Although the abandonment of previous restorations has been widely attributed to a lack of interest in the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney said in a 2016 interview that this was not the reason, and that he was encouraging efforts to make the documentary available again.