When I learned last year that Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson, fresh off of having created a stunningly immersive documentary about World War I, was now set to direct a documentary about The Beatles, I was so happy. Sometimes we do get nice things, even if we don’t deserve them. Alas, I’ll have to wait until next year for The Beatles: Get Back, which will make use of hours of previously unseen footage originally filmed for the Let It Be movie, which documented the production process of what turned out to be the band’s final released album.
The movie looks quite promising, and could do the one thing that listening to the band’s music and thinking about its legacy often has trouble with: humanizing the members. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, despite creating arguably the biggest phenomenon in the history of popular music, were only human. But that itself is also cause for mild concern about this enterprise. The original Let It Be film was not intended to show the band in the process of collapse, but it did end up capturing that, to a significant degree (or so I have heard; I haven’t seen it, partly for this reason). This new film, which will draw from footage used for that enterprise, is likely to do the same. Thus it could be both a fascinating experience for Beatles fans — and a painful one. Whatever it ends up being, I very much intend to find out for myself.
Until then, I can tide myself over with this preview “montage” that Jackson and his team have put together: