The Beatles are shown a rough cut of the “Let It Be” film

Sunday, July 20, 1969

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Let It Be

1970 • For The Beatles • Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

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On this day, a rough cut of the “Let It Be” film was screened for The Beatles. All four Beatles were present, John with Yoko, Paul with Linda, George with Pattie and his parents.

Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg recalled that this version was about an hour longer than the released version. The day after, he was asked for a change:

Are you happy with the movie?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Some of it.

How so?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: It’s hard when your stars are your producers. And there were four of them. […] A lot I liked got cut out. […] I had to cut out half an hour of John and Yoko, really interesting stuff.


Michael Lindsay-Hogg: We’d had a screening, they all were there, and the next day I got a call from Peter Brown to say it would probably be a good idea to cut the John and Yoko. I asked why. ‘Let me put it this way,’ he said, ‘I’ve had three calls this morning to say it should come out.'”

From “Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond” by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

As recently as 2021, Ringo said there was “no joy” in the film. Did the members of the band actually seem unhappy with it at the time?

Well, after we watched the rough cut in July, the day before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, John and Yoko [Ono], Paul and Linda McCartney, Peter Brown from Apple and me and my girlfriend went out for dinner at Provans in London. The film, I think, was regarded very much as a promising work in progress. There was no snarky business going on. We sat and had a good time like friends do. We talked about our childhoods, had a couple of bottles of wine. When we showed them the final cut in late November, we all went out for dinner again, to a place with a discothèque. We all had a nightcap and a chat, and Paul said he thought the movie was good. Ringo was jiving out on the dance floor. He’s a good dancer.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg – Interview with New York Times, April 16, 2024

From Wikipedia:

Let It Be is a 1970 British documentary film starring the Beatles and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The film documents the group’s rehearsing and recording songs in January 1969 for their twelfth studio album Let It Be. The film includes an unannounced rooftop concert by the group, the last public performance of the four together. Released in May 1970, just after the album, Let It Be is the final original Beatles film release.

The film was originally planned as a television documentary that would accompany a concert broadcast. When plans for the concert broadcast were dropped, the project became a feature film production. Although the film does not dwell on the dissension within the group at the time, it provides some glimpses into the dynamics that would lead to their break-up. Following the film’s release, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr collectively won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.

The film Let It Be has not been officially available on home video since the 1980s, although original and bootleg copies of the film still circulate. Early attempts to release the film on DVD and Blu-ray did not come to fruition. The Beatles: Get Back, an upcoming 2021 documentary utilising footage filmed for Let It Be, will be followed by a remastered re-release of the original 1970 film.

Last updated on April 17, 2024

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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