Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ Documentary From Peter Jackson Moved to 2021

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Photo of The Beatles from the documentary, taken by Linda McCartney

The Walt Disney Studios has moved the release of the Beatles documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, by nearly one year, to 2021, due to the  ongoing pandemic. The studio announced on March 10 that it had acquired the worldwide distribution rights to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s previously announced documentary. At that time, the film was planned for a Sept. 4, 2020 release in the U.S. and Canada.

However, delays in the worldwide theatrical schedule have pushed back the releases of scores of films across all film studios. The Beatles: Get Back is now scheduled to be released on Aug. 27, 2021. Disney announced the move on Jun 12.

Though Apple Corps Ltd. had not announced a corresponding audio release, any plans for deluxe editions of those recordings are likely going to also be pushed back.

Disney’s original March 10 announcement notes, “the film will showcase the warmth, camaraderie and humor of the making of the legendary band’s studio album, Let It Be, and the entire 42-minute performance of their final live concert as a group, the iconic rooftop set on London’s Savile Row.” The Beatles: Get Back will be released in the U.S. and Canada on September 4, 2020, with additional details and dates for the film’s global release to follow. The announcement was made earlier today by Robert A. Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company, at Disney’s annual meeting of shareholders.

The project was originally announced on January 30, 2019, on the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ rooftop performance.

The Beatles: Get Back, presented in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., is a new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson, a three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker. Compiled 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, The Beatles: Get Back is directed by Jackson and produced by Jackson, Clare Olssen (They Shall Not Grow Old) and Jonathan Clyde, with Ken Kamins and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones serving as executive producers.

The Beatles (Photo: © Apple Corps Ltd.; used with permission)

The footage has been restored by 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, the groundbreaking film which featured restored and colorized World War I archival footage. The music in the film will be mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Peter Jackson says, “Working on this project has been a joyous discovery. I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces.”

Paul McCartney says, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”

Ringo Starr says, “I’m really looking forward to this film. Peter is great and it was so cool looking at all this footage. There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. 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 Beatles: Get Back is also being made with the support of Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Omitted from the announcement was any mention of a companion audio edition. From 2017-2019, Apple Corps and UMe have issued elaborate 50th anniversary remastered editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandThe Beatles (aka The White Album), and Abbey Road, with a variety of previously unreleased alternate takes and more.

Although the original Let It Be film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and the accompanying album were filmed and recorded in January 1969, they were not released until May 1970, three weeks after The Beatles had officially broken up. The response to the film at the time by audiences and critics alike was strongly associated with that announcement. During the 15-month gap between the filming of Let It Be and its launch, The Beatles recorded and released their final studio album, Abbey Road, which came out in September 1969.

Shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, the 80-minute Let It Be movie was built around the three weeks of filming, including an edited version of the rooftop concert. The GRAMMY®-winning Let It Be album topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.

[A companion book, simply titled The Beatles: Get Back, is coming on Aug. 31, 2020, from Callaway Arts & Entertainment. It’s available for pre-order in the U.S. here and the U.K. here. Full details are here.]

The new documentary brings to light much more of the band’s intimate recording sessions for Let It Be and their entire 42-minute performance on the rooftop of Apple’s Savile Row London office.While there is no shortage of material of The Beatles’ extensive touring earlier in their careers, The Beatles: Get Back features 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.

Shot on January 30, 1969, The Beatles’ surprise rooftop concert marked the band’s first live performance in over two years and their final live set together. The footage captures interactions between the band members, reactions from fans and employees from nearby businesses, and comical attempts to stop the concert by two young London policemen responding to noise complaints.

Watch the previously released official video of “Don’t Let Me Down” from Let It Be

A fully restored version of the original Let It Be film will be made available at a later date.

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6 Comments so far

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  1. Alan W.
    #1 Alan W. 16 March, 2020, 13:08

    Simply the best band of all-time and any footage of material from this most iconic group will be appreciated by their millions of fans. It’s the end of an era and safe to say the 60’s produced the best music ever!

    Reply this comment
  2. tupaknows
    #2 tupaknows 18 March, 2020, 22:13

    The unofficial Let t Be footage and audio has been circulating in bootleg version for the past 40 years. Let’s hope the new Get Back film is not a historic revision of the what Paul McCartney described as a “dreadful” recording session.

    Reply this comment
  3. Kaos
    #3 Kaos 5 June, 2020, 11:19

    here’s my take:

    Disc 1: Remixed Spector album

    Disc 2: Remastered Spector

    Disc 3: Remixed Glyn Johns

    Disc 4: Original Glyn Johns

    Disc 5: Remastered Glyn Johns

    Disc 6: Remixed McCartney (LIBN)

    Disc 7: Remastered McCartney (LIBN)

    Disc 8: Outtakes Disc A

    Disc 9: Outtakes Disc B

    Disc 10: Outtakes Disc C

    Disc 11/12/13: Twickenham Sessions (Complete)

    Disc 14/15/16: Savile Row, Apple Sessions (complete)

    Blu-Ray/DVD mix of ALL OF IT

    Vinyl Mix

    Cassette Tape mix

    (for a limited time) Lindsay-Hogg film, Jackson Film

    All of it in a large 8″X10″X4″ box

    (Like the signature box)

    Reply this comment
  4. Vinylicious
    #4 Vinylicious 13 June, 2020, 13:13

    55 hours of tape and only 80 minute film? That’s not appealing.

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 13 June, 2020, 14:27

      That was the length of the original film. The running time of Jackson’s film has yet to be announced.

      Reply this comment
  5. mick
    #5 mick 13 June, 2020, 19:47

    On behalf of the group, I hope we passed the audition…

    Reply this comment

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