Documentary about the music group The Beatles featuring in-studio footage that was shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film 'Let It Be.'Documentary about the music group The Beatles featuring in-studio footage that was shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film 'Let It Be.'Documentary about the music group The Beatles featuring in-studio footage that was shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film 'Let It Be.'
If the first film of the three showed the group not coping with being expected to work in the cavernous Twickenham Film Studio set to the extent of becoming fractious with one another and not getting a whole lot done and the second their reconciliation and rediscovery of their collective mojo boosted by the drafted-in guest appearance of keyboardist Billy Preston, then this last instalment showed the race against time to complete their elpee's worth of songs (at which they fail) and agreement to an almost ad-hoc suggestion that they perform their new material live above the mostly agog office and shop-workers below (at which they succeed).
I do hope now that the often upbeat nature of these films and the way they showed the band tightening up, in more ways than one, will replace the perception of these sessions, as portrayed in the original film, as negative and downbeat. Yes, there were disagreements and falling-outs along the way, but when their backs were against the wall, the band always came out fighting, as McCartney states they invariably did when the occasion called. While in the first hour, perhaps the odd extended jam or two could have been cut down or out, these are more than made up for with priceless scenes with the group chemistry very much in evidence, witness George asking for help with his lyric for "Sonething", his own helping of Ringo to knock "Octopus's Garden" into shape or John and Paul hilariously co-singing "Two Of Us" as if they were ventriloquists.
Best of all though was the music itself. Marvel at their prolific output, setting themselves a 14-song target, this, remember just a few months after they'd unleashed 30 newbies on "The White Album". Also dig how they individually and collectively pull a song together, not stopping until they get it right. Initially trepidatious at witnessing a perceived up-close disintegration of my favourite band, instead I got an insight into the years of gigging and recording which helped them stay together for so long. Yes, at times, it's clear the ends were fraying as they grew apart and would come loose for good after one final magnificent hurrah with "Abbey Road", but this extended window into their world only deepened my love and admiration for this most special band.
The highpoint of "Get Back" of course was the uncut 40 minutes or so of the rooftop show, again with Billy Preston as their side-man on keyboards, blasting out their new music over the streets of London prompting the attention of the stuffy, out-of-touch local plod to shut them down. All the sometimes ramshackle rehearsals and run-throughs forgotten, on a cold but sunny winter morning, they sing and play magnificently together one last time in a truly Olympian performance, to the mortals below.
And in the end, borrowing a phrase from a lesser but still very popular band, all I can say is thank you for the music, boys, you were the best.
- Dec 2, 2021