Peter Jackson says his Beatles doc ‘Get Back’ dispels myth band was feuding while recording famous last album

There were countless film and television projects delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Only one, to our knowledge, was also tripled in parts and nearly quadrupled in length.

When Peter Jackson’s eagerly anticipated The Beatles: Get Back was announced in January, 2019, it was planned as a theatrical documentary release, with an expected runtime that typically hovers around two or two-and-a-half hours.

But as the Lord of the Rings director immersed himself in the 55 hours worth of previously vaulted footage that documented the recording of The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be, in 1969, he struggled to come anywhere close to that.

“We were at about eight hours at some point,” he told us in a recent virtual interview (watch above). When its release was pushed a year due to COVID-19, Jackson and his distributor Disney reassessed. “And at some we realized the two-and-a-half hour movie was sort of a dumb idea.”

When Get Back lands on Disney+ starting Nov. 25, it will release in three parts over three consecutive days with a total runtime of 468 minutes, or 7 hours and 48 minutes.

Beatles fans probably won’t mind. The footage, originally captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 documentary on the album and restored by Jackson, is a gloriously intimate fly-on-the-wall viewing experience and insightful look at the musical genius of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr just months before they broke up.

About that… While Lennon famously said you can hear The Beatles breaking up on 1968’s self titled album, aka The White Album, many have long believed the recording of Let It Be (which included staples like “Get Back,” “Let It Be” and “Across the Universe”) was fraught with tension considering the band broke up a month before its May, 1970 release.

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Jackson thinks the film dispels that myth: “What you’ve got with The Beatles is four guys that love each other. We’ve got 150 hours of material, and I’ll tell you that I’ve listened to all of it multiple times — and the tape machines are rolling all the way through it. Not one Beatle has an angry word with another one. There’s not one bit of anger. There’s disagreements and sort of a little bit of impatientness and all that sort of stuff. But no one shouts. They really have respect and love for each other.”
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