Walt Disney Studios has acquired worldwide rights to distribute Peter Jackson’s upcoming documentary on The Beatles and the creation of what became their Let It Be album, with a September 4, 2020 release date set for the U.S. and Canada.
The film is comprised of material stemming from over 55 hours of unseen footage, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and 140 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings from the Let It Be album sessions. Lindsay-Hogg had been shooting the recording sessions and the iconic surprise rooftop concert conducted by the band atop their Savile Row headquarters for what ultimately became the Let It Be film from 1970. The movie was released three weeks after the band announced its dissolution, while the music recorded in the film subsequently was released on the band’s final album of the same name.
Upon its release, Let it Be was seen as filmed evidence of the divides that were driving the band apart. Jackson’s project, according to the team behind it, aims to illuminate another side of the process behind the recording of the album, boasting “the only notable footage of the band at work in the studio, capturing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they create their now-classic songs from scratch, laughing, bantering and playing to the camera.”
The film will also feature the rooftop concert in its entirety.
The footage for The Beatles: Get Back is being restored at Park Road Post Production of Wellington, New Zealand, and is being edited by Jabez Olssen, who collaborated with Jackson on 2018′s They Shall Not Grow Old, which garnered raves for its restoration and colorization of World War I archival footage. The music in the film will be mixed by Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer George Martin and the mixer behind the helm of the group’s last few major reissues, and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in London.
“No band has had the kind of impact on the world that The Beatles have had, and The Beatles: Get Back is a front-row seat to the inner workings of these genius creators at a seminal moment in music history, with spectacularly restored footage that looks like it was shot yesterday,” said Robert Iger, executive chairman of the Walt Disney Company, in a statement. “I’m a huge fan myself, so I could not be happier that Disney is able to share Peter Jackson’s stunning documentary with global audiences in September.”
“Working on this project has been a joyous discovery,” offered Jackson. “I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces. I’m thrilled that Disney have stepped up as our distributor. There’s no one better to have our movie seen by the greatest number of people.”
“I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together,” said Paul McCartney. “The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”
“There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out,” added bandmate Ringo Starr. “There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”
The film is being made with the support of Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. Additional details for the film’s global release are due soon.
(Story image: © 1969 Paul McCartney; photo taken by Linda McCartney)