Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” Uncovers the True Friendship of the Fab Four

56 hours of footage is to be condensed into a 6-hour excursion into the studio life of The Beatles.

Ethan A. Russell/© Apple Corps Ltd.*

50 years after the dissolution of the band, The Beatles remain in the spotlight. The new documentary directed by Peter Jackson will release on 25, 26 and 27 November in 3 parts on Disney+.

Disney released a teaser for the film in December last year showcasing a collage of footage of the band in beautiful HD. The film will have footage of the band working on their last album as well as their famous rooftop concert in its entirety. The footage was originally recorded for The Beatles: Let it Be documentary which was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1970. 

Footage from that documentary was dug up, refined and given to Peter Jackson to edit into a 6-hour spectacle.

Fab Four or Fab Fall?

The original 1970 documentary by Lindsay-Hogg was released during the band’s breakup. This made for a depressing film about the band, highlighting events leading up to the eventual breakup.

This led to exaggerated articles, journals and books being written about the band and their deteriorating relationship with one another. It eventually gave birth to many common misconceptions about the relationship and attitudes within the band. This even affected the band members themselves as Paul McCartney states,

“I bought into the dark side of the Beatles breaking up and thought, ‘Oh God, I’m to blame.’ I knew I wasn’t, but it’s easy when the climate is that way to start thinking so.” 

Source: NME

According to NME, drummer Ringo Starr also criticised the film stating, “I didn’t feel any joy in the original documentary.” He also added, “There was lots of laughter, I was there, we were laughing, we were having fun.”

Jackson’s Encounter with the Footage

Imagine: Disney/Getty

Director Peter Jackson, who is a Beatles fan himself, grew up around the time The Beatles broke up and recalled the bleak experiences. Jackson was found to even be sceptical about reviving the footage before agreeing to take it on. 

“I’d love to make a Beatles film, but I don’t want to make the Beatles-breakup film.”

Source: Vanity Fair

But the footage pleasantly surprised Jackson, “I just was laughing. I was laughing and laughing and laughing, and I didn’t stop.” 

What Jackson had found was the memory of four Liverpool lads playing and living out their passion as musicians. The teaser lives as evidence for this, showing a compilation of non-stop smiles, dancing and laughter. Footage of Ringo talking to the camera, Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney conversing and John Lennon goofing around is what can be seen. The teaser alone has shattered all pre-conceived notions of what transpired amongst the band members. 

“We were like a family you know, and families have disputes” 

Source: Vanity Fair

The Beatles’ Encounter with the Footage

Credit: Showbiz411

Jackson was recorded meeting Paul McCartney backstage during one of his concerts. The former Beatle was nervous about what was seen in the footage as Jackson reassured him and said,

“It’s incredibly funny. It’s incredibly lively. It shows you guys having a great time.” 

“And he couldn’t believe it,” says Jackson. 

Source: Vanity Fair

Ringo Starr appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert praising the footage he had seen, “There was a lot of joy in making those records, those tracks so I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the whole thing.”

Family members of the late John Lennon and George Harrison have also supported the film. Jackson had shown the footage and received the support of Olivia Harrison, George’s wife.

Yoko Ono, John’s wife, historically has defended John’s legacy but has not commented on the film. Ono also has control over how The Beatles music is distributed, especially for this film as she makes frequent appearances. Sean Lennon, John’s son, saw some of the footage and gave the Lennon seal of approval for the film.

Peter Jackson has made it clear that the film is entirely under his control and there is little external influence. Everyone involved with The Beatles, whether it be a fan or Paul McCartney himself, is at the mercy of Jackson’s direction. This would concern most but reviewing Jackson’s experience and his own love for the band emits hope for the film.

Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back releases 25, 26 and 27 November on Disney+

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