Whether you are a fan of The Beatles or not the eight-hour, three-part documentary The Beatles: Get Back is a must watch.
Peter Jackson has created something truly magnificent.
The three-time Oscar winning filmmaker and his team have condensed more than 150 hours of unheard audio and over 60 hours of unseen footage to present the world with a brilliant insight into four of the greatest musical minds of the 20th century.
The footage was primarily filmed in 1969 by American director Michael Lindsay-Hogg while the band were preparing Let It Be, an album of 14 songs to be recorded live and performed for a studio audience for the first time in two years. Lindsay-Hogg was filming for the documentary Let It Be released in 1970.
It is incredible to see how simplistically one of the world’s best known bands created their music: it is just four Scousers sat around their instruments delving into the canyons of their minds to create music loved by millions of people worldwide.
Included in the documentary is the abrupt and short-lived departure of George Harrison which threatened to be the end of The Beatles as a quartet.
Harrison’s frustration with the band was understandable because he was almost the outsider of the group. He left the studio and didn’t return until the other band members went to see him for a second time days after his sudden departure.
The documentary suggests that Paul McCartney was most dedicated to The Beatles. Ringo Starr also seemed interested in The Beatles and not just the music making, John Lennon seemed like he was now most focused on his relationship with Yoko Ono, and Harrison was clearly least devoted to The Beatles at this point and suggests a solo career to Lennon.
It was clear that this was not the same Beatles who performed at the Cavern Club when they were younger and completely engrossed in life as a member of one of the world’s biggest bands.
However, their passion and enthusiasm for music was still visible.
Jackson has done an outstanding job bringing colour, clarity and vibrancy to the footage and audio by giving the documentary a 21st century feel. If one did not look too much at the fashion it looks like it could be live footage.
The Beatles began preparation for Let It Be at Twickenham Studios with the vision of performing the album live in two weeks’ time. However, Harrison’s departure affected the process and the band moved to Apple Corps on Savile Row to complete the album.
Part of the album is performed live on the roof top at Savile Row with songs such as “Get Back”, “Dig A Pony” and “One After 909” being recorded live for the album. Other songs such as “Let It Be” were recorded in the studio for the album after the band came down from the roof.
The roof top performance was the last live performance by The Beatles.
This three-part documentary is a must watch. It is absolutely amazing to be able to marvel at such brilliance and all credit has to go to Jackson and his team for blessing everybody with this masterpiece.