In the wake of They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson‘s next found-footage project will be about the Beatles and their somewhat acrimonious Let It Be sessions in 1969. Jackson will find a way to make something out of 55 hours of unused footage, shot by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969 and later manifested in the 1970 Let It Be doc.
The Jackson-Beatles story was broken by Variety‘s Chris Willman.
Jackson: “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us ensure this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about. It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
Excuse me, but that’s just bullshit. The Beatles were in a shitty, dysfunctional place when the footage was shot, and the music on the Let It Be album wasn’t in the least bit “great” — it felt tired, sluggish, retro-lazy, downish, uninspired. “Let It Be Naked” has value, but the remixed Phil Spector version is arguably the worst album the Beatles ever issued.
And the tracks themselves are mostly a drag, like a version of the Beatles basement tapes: “One After 909”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Dig a Pony”, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “Get Back”, “Let It Be”, “I Me Mine,” “Two of Us”, “Maggie Mae”, “Dig It”, “The Long and Winding Road”…God! The only tracks I can stand are “For You Blue” and the original “Across the Universe.”
Wiki excerpt: “The rehearsals and recording sessions for the album did not run smoothly. The acrimony that began during the recording of the White Album resumed soon after the rehearsals began. The Beatles weren’t getting along, and Lennon and McCartney weren’t working together as before.
“McCartney assumed the role of the leader, while a detached Lennon was more interested in spending time and making music with his soon-to-be wife Yoko Ono, who was present in the studio with him at all times. Lennon was in a fragile emotional state, with Ono having suffered a miscarriage of their child just six weeks before the start of the sessions, following a drug bust the month before.
“All of these factors led to friction within the band. At one point, Harrison quit the group after several arguments with McCartney and a falling out with Lennon, due to the former’s perfectionism and the latter’s disengagement. Harrison was coaxed back a few days later.
“The film version is famous for showcasing a number of conflicts between the group members and has frequently been referred to as a documentary that was intended to show the making of an album but instead shows ‘the break–up of a band.'”
Jackson again: “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama, but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating. It’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. I’m thrilled and honored to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage. Making the movie will be a sheer joy.”