The Beatles Long-Shelved Doc ‘Let It Be’ to Hit Disney+ Next Month After Peter Jackson Restoration

Jackson says the 1970 film “completes” his “Get Back” docuseries and will stream on May 8

The Beatles
30th January 1969: British rock group the Beatles performing their last live public concert on the rooftop of the Apple Organization building for director Michael Lindsey-Hogg's film documentary, 'Let It Be,' on Savile Row, London, England. Drummer Ringo Starr sits behind his kit. Singer/songwriters Paul McCartney and John Lennon perform at their microphones, and guitarist George Harrison (1943 – 2001) stands behind them. Lennon's wife Yoko Ono sits at right. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

“Let It Be,” the film that documented The Beatles’ final performance as a group before spending five decades in the vault, is getting a new life on Disney+ with a restoration from Peter Jackson. The remaster will air on the streamer May 8.

It’s the first time in more than 50 years fans will be able to watch director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s film, which premiered in the dark days of May 1970, a month after the Fab Four officially broke up. It was originally intended as a television special ahead of the band’s return to live performance.

The release follows Peter Jackson’s Emmy-winning 2021 docuseries “The Beatles: Get Back.” which included footage originally shot for “Let It Be.” The popularity of the series led to Apple Corps asking Jackson’s Park Road Post Production to handle a meticulous restoration of the film from the original 16mm negative. The effort included remastering the sound using the same technology Jackson used in the “Get Back” series. 

And the film contains far more from the studio session in January 1969 where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – joined by keyboardist Billy Preston – wrote and recorded the “Let It Be” album and performed on Apple’s London rooftop.

The Grammy-winning album was initially put on hold thanks to the friction among the band members, but Lennon recruited producer Phil Spector to pull it together as the film was readied for its theatrical release.

The film was produced by Neil Aspinall with The Beatles acting as executive producers. The director of photography was Anthony B Richmond.

“’Let It Be’ was ready to go in October/November 1969, but it didn’t come out until April 1970. One month before its release, The Beatles officially broke up. And so the people went to see ‘Let It Be’ with sadness in their hearts, thinking, ‘I’ll never see The Beatles together again, ‘I will never have that joy again,’ and it very much darkened the perception of the film,” Lindsay-Hogg said in a statement.

“But, in fact, how often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs? “the statement continued. “And then you get to the roof, and you see their excitement, camaraderie, and sheer joy in playing together again as a group and know, as we do now, that it was the final time, and we view it with the full understanding of who they were and still are and a little poignancy.”

“I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with ‘Get Back,’ using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously,” he added.

Jackson said that he is “absolutely thrilled” that the movie was restored and is finally being re-released.

“I was so lucky to have access to Michael’s outtakes for ‘Get Back,’ and I’ve always thought that ‘Let It Be’ is needed to complete the ‘Get Back’ story,” Jackson said. “Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and ‘Let It Be’ is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970. I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades.”

Jackson said the two projects support and enhance each other, stating that “‘Let It Be’ is the climax of ‘Get Back,’ while ‘Get Back’ provides a vital missing context for ‘Let It Be.’” “

He added, “it’s only right that his original movie has the last word…looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970.”

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