Words: Ali Iannattone
In 1969, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg spent 21 days witnessing the complicated process of The Beatles working on their new album ‘Let It Be’ – which then had the working title ‘Get Back’ – and filmed almost every minute of it. This became his 1970 documentary on the band titled after the album. Of the 56 hours of film and 150 hours of audio captured by Lindsay-Hogg, only one and a half made it on his documentary with the rest getting lost in time.
This was until Disney+ announced that the same footage would be used in a docuseries directed and produced by Peter Jackson (‘Lord of The Rings’, ‘The Lovely Bones’), set to come out in November 2021 and titled ‘The Beatles: Get Back’.
When asked about the project, Jackson called it “a documentary about a documentary”; a deeper dive into those 21 days split into three episodes, each lasting two to three hours and amounting to a total runtime of almost eight hours.
The series was also co-produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison and its film production team employed the same film restoration techniques that Peter Jackson used in his 2018 WW1 documentary ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’.
Some of the best moments from the series truly allowed the viewers to immerse themselves in the dynamics of the group. One that shocked the audience came from Harrison and McCartney’s ongoing feud over their contribution to songwriting which culminated in Harrison’s abrupt quitting of the band with a “See you ’round the clubs”. This, of course, got resolved within the week at George Harrison’s request of relocating from Twickenham Studios to Apple Corps in Savile Row. Another favourite moment for LDN was the mesmerising five minutes in which Paul McCartney scats over chords as the whole band slowly joins in and creates the song that we know today as ‘Get Back’.
Peter Jackson was able to embrace both moments of harmony and discordance within the group and create a narrative of conflict and resolve for ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ which the public wasn’t aware of; usually believing that the time spent writing ‘Let It Be’ was a mostly tense and hostile period. All of these elements truly allowed the end result to come across as a product of admiration and respect rather than simple observation and made the series a special piece of music history.
Watch the trailer here: