Of course you’ll have heard by now that the multi-award winning film maker Peter Jackson has been selected by to re-cut the hours of Let It Be footage and audio from the winter of 1969 into an entirely new film.
We’ve been letting that huge news from last week sink in and percolate a bit – and have come to the conclusion that it’s a stroke of genius by the remaining Beatles and their Apple company.
We all know that the original Let It Be film has been languishing in the vaults for years, with seemingly no chance of unanimous agreement amongst the four-headed monster that controls these things (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison) that a re-issue – on its own – would ever get the green light.
But giving all the footage (over 55 hours of never-before-seen film and 140 hours of audio) to the Oscar-winning Jackson is something of a masterstroke.
First and foremost is the fact that Peter Jackson (who made the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) is a mad keen Beatle fan, and has been for decades.
Secondly, his most recent project – the documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old – has seen he and his team at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand, work wonders with the restoration and colorization of old photos and never-before-seen footage from World War I. The film was made to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.
If you want proof of what they can do with footage and images from one hundred years ago just take a look at the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old. It is breathtaking:
The services at Park Road Post include: restoration from scanned film – scratch and splice fixes, de-noise, image sharpening, stabilizing, re-speeding and re-timing; grading – black and white and final colour grading of specialised colour created footage; and dialogue recording, Foley, and pre and final sound mixing and mastering. So they are very capable experts in their field.
As to the legend that The Beatles’ time together during the filming of Let It Be was entirely fraught and only shows a band in its final death throes, Jackson – who has seen all the footage – begs to differ: “I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth. 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.”
This all points to what should be something very special being produced.
As to fans who were worried that the new film would take the place of the original Let It Be, that it would forever consigned to the Apple dustbin, well that seems not to be the case. A restored version of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s theatrical release is set to finally get its belated digital release “following the release of this new film”, according to Apple’s official announcement.