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Get Back to 'Let It Be': Restored Beatles Doc Gets Official Trailer

The 1970 documentary has long been commercially unavailable.

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Source: Linda McCartney/Apple Corps Ltd.

'Let It Be' has been commercially unavailable for years.

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In exciting news for Beatles enthusiasts, the trailer for the restored Let It Be film has finally dropped. This revamped version, streaming exclusively on Disney+ starting May 8, offers a chance to experience the band's creative process and performances with a renewed clarity, courtesy of Peter Jackson's team at Park Road Post Production. This is the same group that produced the five-time Emmy award-winning 2021 docuseries Get Back from footage shot during the Let It Be filming and recording sessions in January 1969.

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Source: ℗ © The Walt Disney Company/Apple Corps Ltd./The Beatles/YouTube

"At last..."

This is the first time the original has been seen in over 50 years, due to, among other reasons, the overwhelmingly negative sentiment foisted upon the movie when it was released in May 1970. By that time, the Beatles were over as a group, and in future interviews in the ensuing decades, each member of the band took umbrage with the film's portrayal of group dynamics – including Paul McCartney's perceived bossiness, George Harrison's tetchy interactions, and John Lennon's detachment through the whole project, as he brought Yoko Ono into Twickenham studio as his constant companion.

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Source: Apple Corps Ltd.

The Beatles, Mal Evans, Yoko Ono and director Michael Lindsay-Hogg in the basement studio at Apple, January 1969.

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The film's technical aspects at the time of its release did nothing to enhance an already dampened mood, as director Michael Lindsay-Hogg had shot on 16mm film with the intention of making a television documentary. However, during the filming, it becomes quite clear that with time restraints – namely Ringo Starr's commitment to making The Magic Christian – and the added disarray of differing opinions on what to do for an actual concert, that proposition was a doomed one.

In the end, Lindsay-Hogg had the stock blown up to 35mm for the cinema, and after a showing in July 1969 for the entire band and their team, the film was shelved as the Beatles were back at EMI Studios recording what would be their final album, Abbey Road.

qbeatlesletitbedisneyapplecorps
Source: Apple Corps Ltd.

The famous impromptu rooftop concert was shot during the 'Let It Be' sessions.

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The long refusal to make the film available legitimately available on video was due to the band's apathy for the film's tone, the grainy presentation and the accompanying soundtrack, with its controversial input from producer Phil Spector. McCartney oversaw an orchestral-less release of Let It Be... Naked in 2003, stripping off the Spector additions and mixing in studio chatter. But nothing about the film was forthcoming. Until Get Back arrived in 2021.

Using the same machine-assisted learning (or MAL, for short and hypothetically dedicated in name to the Beatles roadie manager, Mal Evans) used for Get Back, the original stock has now been restored. And while some Beatle stalwarts can still take umbrage over the narrative portrayed in Lindsay-Hogg's version, Peter Jackson had this to say in a press release:

"I'm absolutely thrilled that Michael's movie, Let It Be, has been restored and is finally being re-released after being unavailable for decades. 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. I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: Let It Be is the climax of Get Back, while Get Back provides a vital missing context for Let It Be. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was unfailingly helpful and gracious while I made Get Back, and it's only right that his original movie has the last word...looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970."

Source: ℗ © Apple Corps Ltd./The Beatles/YouTube

Let It Be Naked Trailer

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The restored Let It Be, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and produced by Neil Aspinall, will premiere on May 8 on streaming service Disney+.

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