The new Let It Be film
|A new edit of “Let It Be” directed by Peter Jackson has been announced today.|
The Beatles today announced a new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. The film will be accompanied by a restored version of the original “Let It Be” film, as directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
London – January 30, 2019 – Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd. are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song. The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up.
The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special, but organically turned into something completely different, climaxing with The Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple’s Savile Row London office — which took place exactly 50 years ago today.
Peter Jackson said, “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures 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.”
Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s – in concerts, interviews and movies – this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio.
The Let It Be album and movie, having been released in the months following The Beatles’ breakup, have often been viewed in the context of the struggle the band was going through at that time.
“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” continues Jackson, “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 honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”
Jackson will be working with his They Shall Not Grow Old partners, Producer Clare Olssen and Editor Jabez Olssen. The footage will be restored by Park Road Post of Wellington, New Zealand, to a pristine standard, using techniques developed for the WW1 documentary film which has been nominated for a BAFTA for best documentary.
The untitled film is currently in production and the release date will be announced in due course. This film is being made with the full co-operation of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.
The Executive Producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.
Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be made available.
TIMELINE: LET IT BE (movie)
1969: 16mm footage of the Beatles filmed in January for proposed TV Special and album, “Get Back”.
1969: Film and album shelved for now, new album Abbey Road recorded and released.
1969-70: Footage reworked for movie screening, to fulfill 3 film contract with United Artists.
1970: Theatrical release. Film has been blown up to 35mm, sound is in mono, retitled “Let It Be”.
|UK premiere at the London Pavilion|
1970s: Televised in several markets globally, occasionally shows up in cinemas.
1975: BBC2 shows Let It Be for the first time on December 26. Mono.
1976: BBC1 shows Let It Be on August 24. Mono.
1978: The first screening on HBO in USA, July 29. Ran another six times the following month.
1979: BBC2 shows all Beatles films during Christmas season, again Let It Be on Dec 26.
1980: John Lennon is killed.
1980: As a tribute to John Lennon, Australian Channel 10 shows Let It Be. Simulcast. The film may also have been shown elsewhere in the world at this traumatic time, but the Australian screening is the one we know about.
1981: Home Video release (USA) of 35mm film pan-and-scan: VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc and Videodisc by 20th Century Fox/Magnetic Video Corporation. Mono. Betamax may have been even earlier.
1981: Aired in USA on “The Movie Channel” in November and on “Cinemax” in December.
1982: BBC2 shows Let It Be for the fourth and last time on May 8. 16mm version, mono.
1983: Südwest III local TV screening (south-west part of West Germany) on Dec 26. 16mm, mono. Subtitled in German.
1984: Home Video Release (Holland) by Warner Home Video. 16mm, mono.
1984: Home Video Release (West Germany) of 16mm version: VHS, Betamax by Warner Home Video. Mono. Subtitled in German.
1985: Another Channel 10 TV screening in Australia, Sunday 14 July at midday, after the Live Aid concert finished.
1992: Original 16mm film restored by Ron Furmanek, remastered sound, stereo when available.
1995: Restored footage from film and outtakes shown on The Beatles Anthology TV series.
1997: VCI (UK) announces plans to release the 1992 restoration of the film on VHS. It doesn’t happen.
2001: George Harrison succumbs to cancer. Before he dies, he agrees to several upcoming projects, including reworking the Let It Be album to “Let It Be…Naked” and a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, “Love”.
2002: Paul McCartney says there are plans for a DVD release of the film alongside the upcoming new album, “Let It Be…Naked”.
2003: Original 16mm film plus outtakes restored by Bob Smeaton.
2003: “Let It Be…Naked” is released. Newly restored outtakes footage used to promote the album. No DVD.
2003: Movie director Lindsay-Hogg says 2 DVDs with the film and outtakes ready for 2004.
2004: A review of a 3 disc version appears online.
2005: “The Toronto Sun” features interview with Bob Smeaton who says a DVD will come out that year.
2006: In a US radio show, Bob Smeaton gives three possible release dates in 2006 for the DVD.
2007: Apple Corps Ltd register the domain name letitbemovie.com.
2007: Neil Aspinall says the film is still too controversial for release.
2008: Yoko Ono says the DVD will not be released yet.
2008: “The Daily Express” (UK) says DVD was cancelled by Paul and Ringo.
2009: Unidentified “insider” claims Yoko Ono is the one blocking the release.
2009: Theatrical screening at a film club in Philadelphia, PA. Good print, poor mono sound.
2010: BBC radio show says DVD is still considered for release at a future date.
2011: Original film and outtakes re-transferred again in higher resolution for future release.
2012: Film due out for 50th anniversary of “Love Me Do”, but plans are again scrapped.
2012: Richard Porter learns from insider that the film may be released in 2014 or 2015.
2012: Ringo says: “One day that will come out, but we’re not thinking about it right now”.
2013: “Help!”, “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Yellow Submarine” released on Blu-ray.
2014: “A Hard Day’s Night” released on Blu-ray.
2015: Ringo confirms that it will eventually be released, just not this year.
2015: The last 34 minutes of Furmanek’s unpublished 1992 restoration uploaded on YouTube
2015: Apple releases a collection of The Beatles’ promotional films on Blu-ray and DVD. The material from “Let It Be” looks unrestored. This triggers speculation that Apple saves the restored version for a later stand-alone release.
2016: Bootleg company HMC releases the 1992 restoration of the film on a DVD+CD package in NTSC and an aspect ratio of 4:3. The lower part of the picture is cropped.
2016: Paul tells Rolling Stone that he keeps promoting a release of the film internally.
2016: “Don’t Let Me Down” (partial) and “I’ve Got A Feeling” (partial) from the rooftop concert included in the “Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years” film. The latter song is edited differently with other camera angles than in the “Let It Be” film.
2017: Cinematographer Tony Richmond reveals in an interview that the official DVD release is held up by Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison.
2018: Paul McCartney said in an interview with a Canadian radio station that a re-edited version of the film may come out “in a year or two”.
2019: On January 30th, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the rooftop concert, The Beatles announced that a new film will be made, culled from the 55 hours of Get Back film footage available. The new film will be directed by Sir Peter Jackson. A release date is not announced, but a restored original “Let It Be” film will also be made available in conjunction with the new film. Let’s hope it’s not just a theatrical release, like Shea Stadium was.
The only mention of a release date in the press release, is that it will be announced “in due course”. There’s speculation that the film will be released on the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original “Let It Be” film, which will make it May, 2020. The film premiered on May 13 in the USA and May 20 in the UK.
There’s a slight discrepancy in the press release regarding when the Beatles broke up. Early on it says: “The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up” but later, Sir Peter Jackson says that “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, …”. So did they brake up 18 months after filming “Let It Be” or several months earlier?