What if everything we knew about the Beatles’ break-up was wrong? Peter Jackson’s new documentary film — Get Back — is poised to make everyone totally rewrite our legend of those famous mop-top badasses. For years, devoted Beatles fans have known that the beginning of the end for the Fab Four was the recording of the album and accompanying documentary film, Let It Be. This is the moment tensions were the highest, and even though the Beatles knocked-out Abbey Road in 1969; we’ve been told that doing Let It Be was such a drag that the album was shelved, and released later, in 1970. So, the facts are simple, right? The Beatles disliked each other immensely during the recording/filming of Let It Be, and that’s that.
This week, Disney+ released a look at this pivotal point in Beatles history, and wow, maybe everyone was wrong? Set to be released theatrically sometime in 2021 (but announced much earlier) Peter Jackson’s new take on Let It Be is called Get Back. By diving into 56-hours of unreleased film footage, Jackson is presenting a fresh take on how this album was recorded. In a new “sneak peek” (don’t call it a trailer!) Jackson presents a bunch of images from the movie, to give fans an overall “vibe” of what the footage is like, and, in theory, what the new movie will be like.
The result? Well, to borrow from a line from a different album, it appears the fun the Beatles take in this movie is equal to the fun they make. The footage Jackson gives us wouldn’t remind you of a band on the verge of a break-up. This is the joyous, goofy, borderline-Monty Python-esque version of the Beatles you remember from the movie version of A Hard Days Night. Yes, historically, we know there were tensions and lawsuits. Yes, we can all read the interviews with the different Beatles about how hard it was to make this project, but, it looks like, when the cameras were rolling, for at least 56 hours, the Beatles were having a fucking blast. Plus, this movie will, apparently, finally, show that the entire, infamous rooftop concert, which was, effectively, the last time the Beatles played live together.
Fans will probably remember this isn’t the first time Let It Be has been mildly revised. In 2003, mostly at the urging of Paul McCartney, Apple Corp. released Let It Be: Naked, an album that presented stripped-down versions of the album’s famous tracks, which reported to restore the songs to their original intent. That said, for some, Let It Be: Naked was actually just an alternate version, rather than the “real” version of the album. To put it another way, your local classic rock station still lays the song versions from the 1970 album, which, somewhat controversially, were mixed by Phil Spector after the fact.
Will Get Back get back into all of that dirt? Will the movie have just as much pain as it has joy? It’s unclear, but one thing is for sure, if you like the Beatles, there’s no way this sneak peek footage didn’t make you grin like a total fool on the hill.
The Beatles: Get Back will hit theaters sometime in 2021. The movie is being “directed” and cut by Peter Jackson in New Zealand.