‘They weren’t breaking up’: Here’s why Peter Jackson’s ‘Get Back’ defies Beatles history

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What if you thought everything you knew about The Beatles’ breakup was wrong?

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That’s the promising premise behind director Peter Jackson’s new six-hour documentary.”The Beatles: Move back” (Streaming Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Disney+), which revises the story around “Let It Be”, a sad behind-the-scenes film. album of the same name Which hit theaters after the band’s split was revealed.

“It is forever tainted by the fact that the Beatles were breaking up,” Jackson says of the original 1970 film. Fans who have seen fly-on-the-wall footage of the band’s writing and live recordings take in 14 songs over 22 days – including a painful exchange in which Paul mccartney And George Harrison is concerned about Harrison playing guitar – “assuming naturally” they are witnessing the band’s demise. “‘Let It Be’ had an aura of such pathetic times.”


But what teases “Get Back” is a deep dive into the long-vaulted outtake, shot in January 1969, in which four friends make for well-meaning bad acoustics, soaring divisions, and a tight timeline.

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In featured segments for Granthshala, John Lennon And Harrison laughs like schoolchildren when engineers stop recording to announce that McCartney’s bass is bad. Lennon makes a sly joke about “I’ve Got a Feeling” as the Beatles rumble through unfamiliar material and no one can remember the title of “The Long and Winding Road.” Ringo Starr shares a piece of gum with chummily yoko ono, which works as a needle in John’s favor. Arms are thrown around the shoulders and lunch is planned. Dear Rooftop Concert at their Apple Corps. HQ plays full, lasting 42 minutes. The grainy look of the first film has disappeared, replaced by crisp footage with vibrant clarity.

After plowing through nearly 60 hours of film and 150 hours of audio, a sense of relief is evident from what Jackson found. He knew the original Michael Lindsay-Hogg movie from the VHS bootleg (“a terrible, fourth-generation thing”), which he watched as a lifelong Beatles fan. He dug into the source material hoping for more.

“If it was really pathetic, I would have said to Apple (Corps), ‘Look, thank you so much for the offer, but this isn’t the kind of movie I want to make,'” says the “Lord of the Rings” director. , who volunteered for the project and decided to expand it into a documentary. “But I just laughed. It’s very, very funny.”

No one could have been more surprised than the now 79-year-old McCartney, who nervously met Jackson before a 2017 concert in New Zealand. “I told him, ‘Okay, I’ve seen all the footage,’ and I can still see the tension on Paul’s face as he was expecting me to say, ‘And that’s really awful,'” Jackson recalled. We do. “And he said, ‘So what do you think?’ ,

Jackson’s take was reassuring. “‘It’s all right, Paul. It’s really joy. It’s not what you think,'” says the director. “Every negative spin you could ever imagine, put it differently (Biography) author) over the years, and to be true by the Beatles themselves. I didn’t see that, I saw something completely different.”

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Giles Martin, who remixed the music heard in the film and a new deluxe edition of the album, was an effort the Beatles still devoted to developing each other’s ideas.

When Lennon shows McCartney something he writes, “It’s like, ‘Should we work on this song?’ “The Beatles producer’s son says Martin” George Martin, “It’s not like, ‘This is my song. What are you doing with it?’ You never get that.”

Jackson has his own theories as to why the Beatles’ memories of the project are flawed.

“They weren’t breaking when it was shot,” he reminisces. The band wrote and recorded one final classic album, “Abbey Road.” “But they remember watching ‘Let It Be’ when they were breaking up at a very stressful time of their lives. So their memories of the ‘Get Back’ session are memories of the movie, not what happened (when they were filming) ).

Starr, 81, recalls the tensions—the new film features Harrison briefly leaving the band—but is pleased with the balanced retelling. “We had a lot of moments, but we also had a lot of love,” He told Granthshala in March. “There’s laughter and there’s joy, and there’s (footage) of the band: Digging each other, fooling around. There were sessions like this. So I love Peter and I love what he’s doing. Every Somebody would be surprised.”

When the surviving Beatles and their families watched the documentary, “I was fully expecting notes from them because I didn’t hold back, I put some raw, honest stuff in there,” Jackson says. “I was expecting to hear, ‘Can you cut this? Do we have to show this?’

“I didn’t find a single note, not even one. He said it was difficult for him to watch, he found it a little stressful, but he wanted a certain record of the moment to exist in the world.

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Paul McCartney and daughter Mary McCartney attend the UK premiere of "The Beatles: Get Back" at Cineworld Empire on November 16, 2021 in London.

What is less clear is whether Beatles loyalists will accept this celebratory version of the truth.

“A lot of fans are probably hoping it will be some whitewashing,” acknowledges Jackson. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last Christmas, Disney and Jackson released a perky preview reel, “It was just us thinking, ‘God, we should make people happy,’ so we intentionally cut together a two or three minute reel of funny quips that mean ‘Okay, this is going to be a happy whitewash. That’s the whole thing. ,

Jackson revealed a different point of view via hours of audio.

“You’re talking to them all day long, day after day,” Jackson says. “You really have a very strong understanding of what’s accurate and what’s not. They’re not a band that intends to break up. If this is supposed to be a film about a band breaking up, it certainly isn’t. “

When Giles Martin played recordings from McCartney and Starr’s sessions, “They just go, ‘You know, we were really good, weren’t we as a band?’ ” He says. “We love ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And that’s it. They’re The Beatles, but talking about what they’re going to have for lunch, and then they’ll play ‘Let It Be’ and it sounds great.

“You’ll know most closely what it’s like to be in a room with The Beatles.”

Contribution: Patrick Ryan

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