Long Dismissed, the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Sinema Returns After 54 Years


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In 2021, the director Peter Jackson’s sprawling and vibrant Beatles docuseries, “The Beatles: Get Back,” streamed on Disney+ to nearly universal acclaim. The three-part epic, which ran nearly eight hours, captured the drama and frenzy as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr recorded, over the pressure-filled month of January 1969, what would become the last album that the Beatles released, “Let It Be.”

As fans were well aware, Jackson’s series was culled from nearly 60 hours of behind-the-scenes footage originally shot by the director Michael Lindsay-Hogg for “Let It Be,” his little-seen, though often dismissed, 1970 documentary about those recording sessions.

After its initial theatrical run, Lindsay-Hogg’s film largely disappeared for more than a half-century with the exception of low-quality VHS versions and bootlegs. Fans tend to remember it as an intriguing historical document capturing the late-stage creative flights of a seismic musical force, but also as a divorce proceeding of sorts, with stark moments of internal discord as the band hurtled toward a nasty split.

By that view, “Get Back,” with its abundant moments of jokey banter and on-set clowning, was seen by some as an overdue corrective to “Let It Be.”

Little surprise but Lindsay-Hogg, 83, has a very different view. The acclaimed director had a hand in inventing the music video, with his promotional films for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s, and went on to win plaudits for the 1980s British mini-series “Brideshead Revisited.” He has fought for a half-century for “Let It Be” to get a second look and, in his mind, a fair shake.

On May 8, he will get his wish, when “Let It Be,” meticulously restored by Jackson’s production team, begins streaming on Disney+ in collaboration with Apple Corps, the company that oversees the Beatles creative and business interests. Lindsay-Hogg spoke to The New York Times about the culmination of a long crusade. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

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