Restored Let It Be film coming to Disney+

The Beatles’ 1970 film Let It Be is coming to Disney+ on 8 May 2024.

The film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in January 1969, has been commercially unavailable since the 1980s. A documentary about the making of the film and Let It Be album, The Beatles: Get Back, was directed by Peter Jackson and released in November 2021.

In January 2019, at the time of the documentary’s announcement, a line in the press release stated: “Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be made available.” However, in the intervening five years there was no further news.

Jackson’s Park Road Post Production company restored the film from the 16mm negatives, including sound restoration using his machine-assisted learning (MAL) technology which was used in both The Beatles: Get Back and the ‘Now And Then’ single.

Although there is no word on a physical edition, the press release mentions that the film will “launch exclusively” on Disney+, suggesting a wider release to follow.

Let It Be restored film promo image (2024)

Here’s the full press release:

BURBANK, Calif. (April 16) – Today, Disney+ announced that Let It Be, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s original 1970 film about The Beatles, will launch exclusively on Disney+ May 8, 2024. This is the first time the film is available in over 50 years.

First released in May 1970 amidst the swirl of The Beatles’ breakup, Let It Be now takes its rightful place in the band’s history. Once viewed through a darker lens, the film is now brought to light through its restoration and in the context of revelations brought forth in Peter Jackson’s multiple Emmy Award®-winning docuseries, The Beatles: Get Back. Released on Disney+ in 2021, the docuseries showcases the iconic foursome’s warmth and camaraderie, capturing a pivotal moment in music history.

Let It Be contains footage not featured in the Get Back docuseries, bringing viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps’ London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write and record their GRAMMY Award®-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award®-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group. With the release of The Beatles: Get Back, fan clamour for the original Let It Be film reached a fever pitch. With Lindsay-Hogg’s full support, Apple Corps asked Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post Production to dive into a meticulous restoration of the film from the original 16mm negative, which included lovingly remastering the sound using the same MAL de-mix technology that was applied to the Get Back docuseries.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg says, “Let It Be was ready to go in October/November 1969, but it didn’t come out until April 1970. 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. 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 full understanding of who they were and still are and a little poignancy. I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with Get Back, using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Michael’s movie, Let It Be, has been restored and is finally being re-released after being unavailable for decades,” says Peter Jackson. “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. Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and Let It Be is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970. I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: Let It Be is the climax of Get Back, while Get Back provides a vital missing context for Let It Be. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was unfailingly helpful and gracious while I made Get Back, and it’s only right that his original movie has the last word… looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970.”

Let It Be, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, stars John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, with a special appearance by Billy Preston. The film was produced by Neil Aspinall with The Beatles acting as executive producers. The director of photography was Anthony B Richmond.

Let It Be will debut exclusively on Disney+ May 8, 2024.

Last updated: 16 April 2024
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  1. Ozymandias Tuesday 16 April 2024

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