Beatles Documentary ‘Let It Be’ Spent Five Decades in the Vault — Now It’s Been Remastered

Beatles documentary let it be to be released after five decades
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Beatles documentary let it be to be released after five decades
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Photo Credit: United Press International

‘Let It Be,’ the Beatles documentary that spent five decades in the vault, is getting a remaster treatment by Peter Jackson for its new life on Disney+ beginning on May 8.

For the first time in over 50 years, Beatles fans will be able to watch director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s film, which initially premiered in May 1970 — just a month after the Fab Four parted ways. Originally intended as a television special ahead of the band’s return to live performance in 1969, the film’s debut after the Beatles broke up inevitably cast a shadow on the public’s perception of it.

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

The original film was produced by Neil Aspinall, with the Beatles acting as executive producers, and Anthony B. Richmond as director of photography. The film features the famous studio session in January 1969 where the band, joined by keyboardist Billy Preston, wrote and recorded the “Let It Be” album and performed on Apple Corps’ London rooftop.

“‘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,” said Lindsay-Hogg. “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.”

“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?” Lindsay-Hogg continued. “And then you get to the [Apple Corps rooftop performance], 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 concluded.

“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,” said Peter Jackson. “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.”

The remastered “Let It Be” will air on Disney+ starting on May 8.