The director of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres a monumental documentary series on Disney Plus with unpublished material shot in 1969
“Today I went to rehearsal, after lunch I quit the Beatles,” wrote George Harrison in his diary. The march or rather frightened of the most spiritual member of the group, who returned shortly after at the request of his companions, adds another element of suspense to ‘The Beatles: Get back’, the documentary series that Disney Plus has just released and that It investigates the reasons that caused the rupture of the quartet that changed the history of pop music.
Peter Jackson, the director of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, a Beatlemaniac since he was a child, accepted the challenge of reviewing the more than 60 hours of unpublished images filmed in January 1969 by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for the documentary ‘Let it be’ during three weeks in which John Lennon, Paul MCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison were in the recording studio giving birth to the songs of the homonymous album and half of those of ‘Abbey Road’, the last of the band.
Jackson, who has also had more than 150 unpublished hours of audio, has carefully restored all the material to immerse us for almost eight hours divided into three episodes in the creative intimacy of the Beatles, who were going through a crucial moment in their career at that time. . His manager, Brian Epstein, has long been dead. They have already gone to India and left the psychedelic stage with their latest album, the ‘white album’. They have not performed live for three years.
As in another documentary series, ‘McCartney 3, 2, 1’, also available on Disney Plus, in which the musician reviews his life and career questioned by producer Rick Rubin, ‘Get Back’ allows you to witness the fascinating process in which a mythical song sees the light. Here we will also meet the personalities of each beatle: the organizer McCartney, a cynical but absent Lennon, Ringo in his eternal role as clown and a Harrison who questions Paul’s leadership. Friendship and camaraderie survives after nearly a decade, but everyone knows the end is near even though none of them have turned thirty. Let no one expect morbid: as producers of the series are McCartney, Starr and the widows of Lennon and Harrison.
Image from ‘The Beatles: Get back’.
Yoko Ono appears in many of the scenes, always alongside Lennon. He never interferes in group discussions. “It will be incredibly funny fifty years from now,” says Paul McCartney at one point during rehearsals. “They separated because Yoko was present.” The documentary presents, for the first time and in its entirety, the last live appearance of the Beatles as a group: the legendary rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row. Just forty minutes in the building of Apple Corps, the company they created in 1968 to manage their personal and artistic interests. They played ‘Get back’, ‘Don’t let me down’ and ‘I’ve got a feeling’, among others. Until the police arrived, alerted by the neighbors.
Thanks to the camouflaged microphones on the Twickenham set and the Apple studio on Savile Row, we will discover that the main reason for the separation of the Beatles was money. The distribution of royalties proposed by Allen Klein, then manager of the Stones, caused them not to come together to the summer of love. There is something magical about seeing Peter Sellers appear for a visit, about witnessing a few days that changed the history of music forever.