There were countless film and television projects delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Only one that we know of also tripled in parts and nearly quadrupled in length.
When Peter Jackson eagerly awaits The Beatles: Get Back Announced in January 2019, it was planned as a theatrical documentary release, with an expected running time typically around two to two and a half hours.
But as the Lord of the Rings The director immersed himself in the 55 hours of previously vaulted footage documenting the recording of The Beatles’ latest album. Let it beIn 1969, he struggled to get close to that.
“We got there at eight o’clock sometime,” he told us in a recent virtual interview (see above). When its launch was delayed a year due to COVID-19, Jackson and his distributor Disney reassessed. “And in some of us, we realized that the two-and-a-half hour movie was a dumb idea.”
When Return lands on Disney + starting Nov. 25, it will launch in three parts over three consecutive days with a total run time of 468 minutes, or 7 hours and 48 minutes.
Beatles fans probably don’t care. The footage, originally captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 documentary on the album and restored by Jackson, is a gloriously intimate visual experience and insightful look at the musical genius of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr within a few months. Before they parted ways
About that … While Lennon said you can hear The Beatles breaking on the 1968 self-titled album AKA The white album, many have long believed that the recording of Let it be (which included staples like “Get Back”, “Let It Be” and “Across the Universe”) was fraught with tension considering the band broke up a month before its May 1970 release.
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Jackson believes the film dispels that myth: “What you have with The Beatles are four guys who love each other. We have 150 hours of material and I will tell you that I have listened to it all several times, and the tape machines are playing it through to the end. No Beatle has an angry word with another. There is not an iota of anger. There are disagreements and a little impatience and all that kind of thing. But nobody screams. They really respect and love each other. “
The 60-year-old New Zealand filmmaker had direct access to surviving members McCartney and Starr, as well as Sean Lennon (John Lennon’s son) and Olivia and Dhani Harrison (George Harrison’s widow and son). He admits that he was particularly nervous about sending McCartney and Starr an early montage, and was hoping for the kind of long notes he would get from the studio while doing a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit film.
“When I make a movie for Warner Bros. or something like that, I get seven pages of typewritten notes, including from them,” Jackson said. “So naturally, I was expecting notes. I was also hoping for notes that were more personal: You know, ‘I really don’t want that to show.’
“But they came back to me and told me, in their individual way, that it was basically incredibly stressful to watch. But they said they consider it a definitive record at the time. Paul said it absolutely captured who they were at that moment in a very honest way. And the notes came back, ‘Don’t change a thing.’ It is the first time in my life that I have not received notes. “
As for the biggest surprise the Beatles fan had for 40 years Returnsays that the “greatest relief” is more appropriate.
“Personal fear as a Beatles fan, when you’re looking at these people that you’ve seen in movies, you’ve seen on television and you really admire them, and now I’m watching the flight as you go. footage of the wall, the curtains drawn to one side, this is the only footage they’ve ever shot live. And they kept it in the vault for 50 years.
“So I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Oh God, am I going to see who these guys really are now? Am I going to be so upset that one or more of these guys will turn into prima donnas or jerks? ‘… And in the end I came out more respectful of who they are than I looked at them. And I took them off the pedestal that I had them on. Now he saw them as human beings and therefore very different human beings. But they are good guys. I mean, it sounds so simplistic. But I’m so happy that the four Beatles turn out to be good guys. Good guys “.
The Beatles: Get Back premieres November 25 on Disney +.
Watch the trailer:
-Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by John Santo