Peter Jackson and Disney release the original “Let It Be” from its purgatory


“Let It Be” (1970), documentary film by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. DISNEY+


For more than half a century, Let It Be wandered in limbo. After being released on video cassette in the early 1980s, the documentary filmed in January 1969 by Michael Lindsay-Hogg was buried by the surviving Beatles and their heirs, who considered this testimony of the quartet’s final days unbearable.

On May 8, Disney put this cursed film back into circulation, after having produced and broadcast it in 2021. Get Back, a seven-hour documentary series edited by Peter Jackson (the one of Lord of the Rings and of King Kong) from the footage shot by Lindsay-Hogg. Even if one spent an entire night apnea in Jackson’s work, the vision of Let It Be original remains full of lessons. Where the New Zealand filmmaker endeavored to present the totality of a moment, highlighting the formidable musical creativity of the group at the same time as its decomposition, in a kind of flay showing each organ of this four-headed monster, his British colleague and elder fashioned a funerary stele in memory of the Beatles.

The eighty minutes of Let It Be are filled with music. Songs that we hear on the album of the same name, rock’n’roll standards improvised in the company of pianist and organist Billy Preston, drafts of titles that will be found on the final album that the group will record , Abbey Road. As soon as the film was released in theaters in May 1970, a few months before the Beatles’ separation was made official, the film was criticized for its infinite sadness.

Impossible mission

Between songs, we hear Paul McCartney and George Harrison arguing. From time to time, Lindsay-Hogg inserts shots of Yoko Ono dressed in black, silent, alongside her companion, John Lennon. And when McCartney tries to start a conversation with his teenage friend, he remains silent. We only hear his nasal voice for a play on words, a sarcastic remark.

Now that we have seen Get Back, we know that Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney spoke to each other (in hushed tones, during the recording of Let It Bethe song), that George Harrison remained in awe of his comrade bassist, as we see in the marvelous sequence of the creation of Get Back. Lindsay-Hogg, undoubtedly limited director (his greatest claim to fame, before being entrusted with the impossible mission of Let It Bewas to have led the Rolling Stones and their guests in Rock’n’roll Circus (1968), folded this complexity into the format of a rather brief feature film, telling a story where Peter Jackson, fifty years later, had the opportunity to offer spectators the elements that will allow them to write their story their.

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