The Pitch: In January 1969, the Beatles, worn by internal tensions and separated by years of not touring together, tried to do the impossible: reunite to produce not only a new album but to record it live at the concert, without any overdubs or studio tricks. Not only that, they wanted to film a special TV show to coincide with the album’s release, which would require the hiring of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and the establishment of Twickenham Film Studios in a former rehearsal venue. On top of all that, they only have four weeks to do it all.
The results were bitter: The album was released to muted fanfare (although it has since been reappraised), and the ambitious TV special was brought down to the now-iconic live concert on the roof of Apple headquarters. But that was the final hurray for a band that changed pop music in just a decade, a breakup whose causes have been estimated to have been irrelevant in the years since.
Maybe it is Yoko Ono pull John Lennon away from the band; perhaps manager Allein Klein screwed them out of royalties; perhaps it was the conflicting egos of the four twenty -something Liverpudlians who became stone gods almost overnight. But the director Peter Jackson, watching nearly 60 hours of unseen footage from Lindsay-Hogg’s filming of the events (which eventually became the middle, 80-minute doc Let It Go), chronicles that troubled the month of Fab Four’s life with new three-part miniseries for Disney+, The Beatles: Back.
Height and Winding Runtime: Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami once said, “I really think I don’t care about people sleeping during my films, because I know that some very good films can be prepare you to sleep or sleep or snooze. “
This, I would say with all love, would fit The Beatles: Back on a tee. In nearly eight hours, Jackson actually did something else Lord of the Rings-level epic, but this time one with guitars and broken egos rather than magic rings and elfen armies. Progressively, Jackson massaged dozens of hours of footage and streamed the consciousness jam sessions into three episodes ranging from two additional hours to nearly three.