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Peter Jackson restores classic 1970 Beatles documentary ‘Let It Be’

By Jack Guy, CNN

London (CNN) — A rarely seen 1970 film following the Beatles just before the band’s breakup will be released on Disney+ after being restored by Hollywood director Peter Jackson, the streaming service announced Tuesday.

The release on May 8 will mark the first time that “Let It Be,” directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, has been available in more than 50 years, according to a statement from Disney+.

Jackson, who also made the award-winning 2021 docuseries “The Beatles: Get Back” for Disney+, has carried out a “meticulous restoration” of the film as well as “lovingly remastering the sound,” according to the statement.

The documentary follows the band as they write and record their final album, “Let It Be,” on a rooftop in London and perform live for the last time – something Lindsay-Hogg said influenced the film’s reception.

“One month before its release, The Beatles officially broke up. And so the people went to see ‘Let It Be’ with sadness in their hearts, thinking, ‘I’ll never see The Beatles together again. I will never have that joy again,’ and it very much darkened the perception of the film,” he said in the statement.

“But, in fact, how often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs? And then you get to the roof, and you see their excitement, camaraderie, and sheer joy in playing together again as a group and know, as we do now, that it was the final time, and we view it with the full understanding of who they were and still are and a little poignancy.”

Disney+ said that “fan clamour for the original ‘Let It Be’ film reached fever pitch” following the release of “The Beatles: Get Back,” and Jackson said that “the two projects support and enhance each other.”

“I was so lucky to have access to Michael’s outtakes for ‘Get Back,’ and I’ve always thought that ‘Let It Be’ is needed to complete the ‘Get Back’ story,” Jackson said in the statement.

Fans of the Beatles will also have more films to watch, following the announcement that Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is set to direct four separate feature-length biopics chronicling the story of the band through the eyes of each of its members: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the late John Lennon and George Harrison.

According to a statement from Sony Pictures Entertainment in February, the films will be told from each band member’s point of view and collectively “intersect to tell the astonishing story of the greatest band in history.”

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