The Beatles: Get Back Documentary (Updates)

Huge changes were made in the release of the Let It Be/Get Back movie.  Instead of a movie to be shown in theaters, it’s a three-part documentary streaming now on Disney+, and was to be released on DVD & Blu-ray February 8th, 2022, but was postponed until July 12th, 2022, because the Blu-ray had an audio flaw.

(At the end of this article are links to reviews of the Get Back movie, and the Let It Be album box set.)

The three films are longer than we were originally told.  Part one is 2-hours-37-minutes.  Part two is 2-hours-53-minutes.  Part three is 2-hours-18-minutes.

(All photos from Apple Corps LTD)

Director Peter Jackson (famous for the Lord Of The Rings trilogy) worked with the 56-hours of original Let It Be film footage for nearly four years.

Jackson says he was mostly able to select different camera shots and angles than were used in the Let It Be movie.  He sees it as a documentary about the making of the original film.  The quality of the film footage has been restored to a new clarity for today’s high-definition viewing.  They’ve also talked about making the original movie available in the higher quality form.

I’m guessing Peter Jackson completed a movie-length version of The Beatles: Get Back before the change was made to a three-part streaming version.  Update (November 2021):  Yes, it’s confirmed there is a one-hour-and-forty-minute version of the Get Back film…which is the normal length for a movie/documentary.  It was used at the U.S. & U.K. premieres that the family members of The Beatles attended.  The original length of the movie meant for August of 2020 was 2-hours-20-minutes.

For the first time, we can see the full 40-minutes of the rooftop concert.  The original movie had about half that.   Unlike a real concert, The Beatles played multiple takes that were later edited together to form more-perfect audio recordings for the album.  It was actually a pubic recording session that was captured on Abbey Road’s studio equipment down below.  Here is a list of the songs in the order they were performed.

Although the recording of the Let It Be album was done in just 21 days, The Beatles were also filmed running through songs that would later appear on Abbey Road and some of their solo albums.

The companion 240-page book was released on October 12th, 2021.  The book features transcribed conversations from the film audio recordings, and many unseen photos by Linda McCartney and Ethan A. Russell.  The list price is $60, but it’s online for $42 (and as low as $30).  There’s a review of the book on this site.

The music for the movie has been remixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell .  Box set anyone?  Update:  There is a 5-disc plus Blu-ray box set that was released October 15th.  It’s priced at $139.98.  A matching vinyl set is $199.98, and a 2 CD set with the remixed album, plus selected highlights from the box set, is $24.98.  

Here are the track lists for the CD’s and the vinyl records (click to enlarge and make clearer).  You can see the set has the new remix of Let It Be, plus the original unreleased Get Back album, and sessions & rehearsals.

Update: (Sept. 2022)  Get Back won five Emmy Awards in various categories, including for Outstanding Documentary Series, and Best Director for Peter Jackson.  It also won awards for sound & film editing.  Paul, Ringo, Olivia & Yoko all won Emmys as executive producers.

Here’s a link to my review of the Get Back documentary:

Here’s the link to a review & perspective of the new box set:

6 Replies to “The Beatles: Get Back Documentary (Updates)”

  1. Now we have to get Disney +

    This will be delicious. I wish our Rock and Soul band members could enjoy it together.

    Thanks Flip. A very rich description. Steve

  2. I’m ambivalent. I’m glad the footage is being restored, and I’m looking forward to seeing it. But if a lot of the supposedly happy moments highlighted in the Jackson film are The Beatles mugging for the camera (like John pretending to write “Across the Universe” on camera, and “Hard Day’s Night” style slapstick) it will be a long 6 hours. Ringo and Paul may be getting sentimental, but John was scathing about the “Get Back/Let it Be” sessions, and I doubt George would be quite so eager to reassess them as fun and friendly.

    Editor: Now that it’s out, you can judge for yourself. John and George’s sons had very positive comments, which you can read in my “Let It Be is now Get Back” article. There’s also a review on this site.

  3. When will it be available on Blu ray to purchase?

    Editor: There has been no announcement about having it available for sale. It seems likely they’d want to monetize it. I wonder if a movie-length version might be released on disc and for digital purchase. UPDATE: The Blu-ray release date is 7/12/22.

  4. I want the original movie exactly as it appeared in 1970 and I want it remastered in 4k. I’m not buying this cruddy release, which is nothing more than ”bonus footage”. This stuff can go on the other discs and Let It Be can go on disc 1.

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