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I’m a longtime Beatles fan, but I’m not sure I care about the Let It Be film coming to Disney+

Published Apr 16th, 2024 4:18PM EDT
The Beatles
Image: Linda McCartney

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When Michael Lindsay-Hogg was tapped to direct a making-of documentary to accompany work on The Beatles’ 1970 album Let It Be, he had no way of knowing that his film would instead document the break-up of the group in real-time.

With its dreary vibe and even moments of outright bitchiness, like when Paul McCartney condescendingly instructs George Harrison what to play on one song, the completed film ended up being such a downer that the band’s company, Apple Corps, kept it more or less locked in a vault for decades. Subsequent generations of Beatles fans, meanwhile, clamored for a chance to see the film, which got its initial release exactly one month after The Beatles formally broke up.

A restored version of the documentary is set to hit Disney+ less than a month from now (on May 8) thanks to Peter Jackson’s production company, which used modern technology to make the film look and sound revitalized. If that process sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the same thing Jackson did for The Beatles’ 2021 project Get Back, which used outtakes from Lindsay-Hogg’s film to create a six-hour docuseries. “Michael Lindsay-Hogg was unfailingly helpful and gracious while I made Get Back,” Jackson said in a statement, “and it’s only right that his original movie has the last word … looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970.”

As a longtime Beatles fan, though, I have to confess: I’m not exactly jumping for joy here, and I’m someone who not only knows every note and lyric from every Beatles album by heart — I’ve also interviewed Ringo Starr on three separate occasions.

Nevertheless, I find myself unable to muster up any excitement whatsoever for the Let It Be movie’s imminent release, largely because I suspect I’ll come to regard it as the CliffsNotes version of Jackson’s project. But also because, well, who wants to relive a breakup? If Apple is in the mood to release new Beatles content, they ought to get going on something like a Rubber Soul boxset or perhaps a Get Back-style documentary or docuseries tied to The White Album.

Better yet, give us some of the Let It Be-era material that we haven’t seen. Because there’s still a ton of that lying around. Consider, for example, that Jackson has said he sifted through 60 hours of unseen footage to produce his six-hour docuseries, meaning that there’s actually still enough Let It Be material to produce a few more docuseries from that same period.

I’m certainly not the only fan who’s greeted the release of Let It Be with a bit of a yawn, and there are also plenty of fans who are over the moon right now. McCartney and Starr each issued statements in response to Jackson’s Get Back that were full of pride and positivity, and that also thanked him for showing the world that there were still moments of joy even at the end. It will be interesting, to say the least, whether they have anything similar to say about the original Let It Be film once it comes to Disney+. I have my suspicions.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.