The Beatles: Get Back

Documentary • For The Beatles • Directed by Peter Jackson

Timeline This film has been released in 2021
Release date:
Nov 25, 2021

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The Beatles: Get Back” is a documentary directed by Peter Jackson that covers the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album Let It Be. It was announced on January 30, 2019 – on the day of the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ rooftop concert. It was scheduled to be released in 2020, but due to the covid-19 pandemic, its release got pushed back to August 2021 and then November 2021. Initially considered as a movie to be released in theaters, “The Beatles: Get Back” became a 3-parts documentary series, totalling 6 hours.

in December 2017, when Paul McCartney was in New Zealand for his “One On One” tour, he took the opportunity to meet with Peter Jackson, who had recently received the rushes from the “Get Back / Let It Be” sessions from January 1969. From Vanity Fair, June 17, 2021:

When Jackson went backstage at a Paul McCartney concert in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2017, he was surprised to find McCartney nervous to meet him, concerned with what Jackson had found in the footage. “I could see on his face he was imagining the worst,” says the director. “I just said to him, ‘Look, I’ve got to say, it surprised the hell out of me because I was expecting it to be a miserable experience for you. I expected to have to witness a rather bleak moment—but it’s actually the exact opposite. It’s incredibly funny. It’s incredibly lively. It shows you guys having a great time.’

And he couldn’t believe it,” says Jackson. “He said, ‘What? What? Really? Really?’ And it certainly surprised him. Because he has never seen this stuff, even though he lived through it. It’s a long time ago, and subsequent events, I think, just muddied the whole memory of this thing.

Having McCartney onboard (as well as the other Beatles or right owners), Peter Jackson would work the next three years on the “The Beatles: Get Back” movie, released in November 2021.

Press release, from The Beatles website, January 30, 2019:

London – January 30, 2019 – Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd. are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song. The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up.

The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special, but organically turned into something completely different, climaxing with The Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple’s Savile Row London office — which took place exactly 50 years ago today.

Peter Jackson said, “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about – it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s – in concerts, interviews and movies – this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio.

The Let It Be album and movie, having been released in the months following The Beatles’ breakup, have often been viewed in the context of the struggle the band was going through at that time.

“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” continues Jackson, “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate”. […]

The point I am trying to make was from day one, 30 days later, no matter what happened we had an album, we did the show on the roof and did all this video. There is no doubt of the record and we did have a few ups and downs, but that is what life is all about. “First of all I never liked the film that came out. It was always [centred] around four seconds of a month. I thought there was no joy and no laughter, and I was telling Peter Jackson this.

Ringo Starr – from Ringo’s joy at new version of Let It Be docu that shows the Beatles weren’t at war during | Music | Entertainment |, September 12, 2021

We were laughing, we were lads. But to get back to the original one, there was a discussion and there were four guys in a room for a month, that had up days, down days, music days. But the music never, ever once got lost in what we were doing.

It was the first time we went in the studio, especially George and I, and John did not have any songs and Paul didn’t have any songs.

Usually they had two or three, so we could start. So there was a whole discussion. But when you look at it, it’s a six-hour documentary and it is like the ocean, the waves of joy and ‘Oh what is that going on?’

Laughter and playing great. We never stopped loving each other. Once we heard the count in… whatever was going on, everybody did their best.

Ringo Starr – from Ringo’s joy at new version of Let It Be docu that shows the Beatles weren’t at war during | Music | Entertainment |, September 12, 2021

Last updated on October 13, 2021


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