PLOT: In January 1969, The Beatles allowed the filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg to record them preparing for their new album. Inadvertently, he managed to capture the band’s gradual disintegration as they put together what would eventually become the “Let it Be” album.
REVISION: The legendary “Get Back” sessions have always been an obsession for Beatlemaniacs. Initially, the plan of John, Paul, George and Ringo was to put together a live album made up of new songs. Still, the sessions at Twickenham Film Studios were rife with discord, and the project morphed into the now-famous Apple Corps office rooftop gig. Eventually the album itself became “Let it Be”. Filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg turned sixty hours of filmed footage into a controversial eighty-minute documentary that has been hard to watch for decades. With so much material in the vaults, the fact that none other than Peter Jackson was able to turn the material into a seven hour movie it is a monumental event for the fans.
The documentary itself is a “fly-on-the-wall” kind of experience, with no narration, no interviews, and just the occasional bit of footage to liven things up. Instead, you feel like you’re there with The Beatles (along with Yoko Ono, Lindsay-Hogg, and other members of the inner circle), watching as they try to shape their new material into an album and some kind of live show. . The band hadn’t performed live in two years when they shot the footage, so it wasn’t an easy task.
Of course, the sessions were also marked by discord, and in fact were definitely separated later that year, although it was not announced to the public until 1970. While the common perception is that the boys were on each other’s throats, Jackson’s documentary dispels that notion. While it is true that they were distancing themselves (something everyone acknowledges at different times in the document), there are no screaming matches or confrontations. Instead, it’s the most insignificant disagreements that seem to be his downfall, with George Harrison resigning for a week because he’s fed up with Paul telling him how to play his guitar parts. Most of the personal complaints occur in the first part. Still, parts two and three reveal that the band not only finally put their differences aside, they had a great time recording together once they moved into the more familiar Apple Corps studio.
It’s interesting to see the band’s creative process at work, with the title “Get Back” transforming from protest song to hard rocker throughout the sessions depicted in the film. Also, you can see how things were between them. The most interesting is the description of the attitude of the band towards Yoko Ono. While you can tell that they are upset by the fact that she is constantly sitting on an amp next to John, they also understand that the two want to be together all the time. Ono is not depicted trying to creatively control anyone. In any case, it is relatively discreet and supportive.
There’s a great scene at the beginning of Part Two that reveals McCartney’s thoughts on John and Yoko, where he says he supports and understands them as a couple, but can’t help but feel jealous that Lennon and he don’t collaborate. like they used to. In fact, they each seem to be taking the lead on their different songs, and it’s interesting to see them all on the piano / guitar while the others are not around while they are working on the material that they will eventually release. on his solo albums.
One thing worth mentioning is that The Beatles: Get Back not particularly user friendly for non-fans. Jackson is a fanatic, and the movie was made with those affected in similar mind. Initially planned as a theatrical function that I’m sure would have been more accessible to casual fans, this seven-hour series is an epic deep dive that’s not for the uninitiated. For fans, though, this is a gold mine, as he made the 16mm film look like it was shot in 4K, to the point where the Fab Four feel gloriously alive and contemporary. There are some fantastic frank moments here, ranging from the mind-blowing (Peter Sellers walks over to say hello to the ever-affable Ringo, but seems put off by John’s weird sense of humor and walks away) to the harmless (George Harrison gets excited about a show of science fiction that he saw on the BBC the night before).
Most importantly, you see the magic happen once the guys are in the studio together, especially once beloved Billy Preston joins them on keyboards. Plus, the entire cast of characters is riveting, from bloody roadie Mal Evans (who was shot and killed by the police a few years later) to Lindsay-Hogg, whose ambitions to film a spectacular show seem to be at odds with the lower gang. from the band. key vibration. It is an invaluable document, and as a Beatles fan, my sincere thanks to Peter Jackson and Disney Plus. They don’t shy away from the swearing, drinking and anti-PC humor of these adorable Liverpool lads. If you are a fan, saying this is a must see is an understatement.