Let It Be (film)

Let It Be (film)

Infobox Film
name = Let It Be

imdb_id = 0065976
director = Michael Lindsay-Hogg
writer =
starring = John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Billy Preston
producer = Neil Aspinall
Mal Evans
The Beatles (executive)
music = John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
cinematography = Anthony B. Richmond
distributor = United Artists
released = May 20 1970 (UK release)
runtime = 81 minutes
language = English
preceded_by = Yellow Submarine|

"Let It Be" is a 1970 film about The Beatles rehearsing and recording songs for the album "Let It Be" in January 1969. Released 12 days after the album, it was the last original Beatles release.

The original premise of the film was to show the Beatles rehearsing and eventually performing a live concert. However, the band members had begun to drift apart for some time, and the project inadvertently documents some of the aspects leading to the band's eventual break-up.

tudio sessions

The Beatles assembled at Twickenham Film Studios on January 2 1969, accompanied by the film crew, and began recording. There were tensions and disagreements among the Beatles, and they disliked the conditions at the Twickenham studios and the working schedule. They started work in the morning rather than working late into the night as they had been accustomed to doing at Abbey Road Studios, where they usually recorded their songs.

On January 10 George Harrison announced that he was leaving the band, although this is not documented in the film.cite web | url=http://www.maccafan.net/Gallery/GetBackRehearsals/Twickenham.htm | title="The Twickenham Sessions" | work=The Get Back Rehearsals | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006] He was persuaded to return and the band resumed work on January 22 at their own new basement recording studio at Apple's headquarters in Savile Row, London. For the sessions at Apple, Harrison brought in keyboardist Billy Preston to play electric piano/organ.cite web | url=http://www.maccafan.net/Gallery/GetBackRehearsals/AppleSessions.htm | title="The Apple Sessions" | work=The Get Back Rehearsals | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006]

The dissension in the band is mostly missing from the film, but "Let It Be" does include a nasty argument between McCartney and Harrison and a scene where McCartney pours out his ideas for the band's future to Lennon, only to be met with silence. The film shows the band rehearsing and performing the songs that wound up on the "Let It Be" album, as well some of the songs from the "Abbey Road" album, which the band reconvened in the summer of 1969 to record. The studio portion of the film ends with a performance filmed at Apple on 30 January 1969 in which the Beatles perform finished versions of "Two of Us", "The Long and Winding Road", and "Let It Be".cite web | url=http://www.maccafan.net/Gallery/GetBackRehearsals/ApplePerformance.htm | title="The Apple Studio Performance" | work=The Get Back Rehearsals | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006]

The rooftop performance

The original concept for the film project called for the documentary to end with a live show, the first live public performance by the band since the end of their last tour, on August 29 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. However, agreeing on a format for the live show proved problematic. Paul McCartney suggested playing a small club, like the Beatles had in the early days. John Lennon suggested an overseas location such as Africa (although he also expressed a sarcastic desire to perform the show in an asylum). Ringo Starr held out for staying home in England. George Harrison showed little enthusiasm for any live performance at all.

After failing to agree on any other venue, the band settled for an unannounced concert atop their own building, Apple's headquarters in Savile Row near Piccadilly Circus. The Beatles, accompanied by Preston, performed on January 30 1969 — intercut in the film with interviews of some rather surprised Londoners near the Apple headquarters as the music blasts out from the roof. The performance and the film close with the police arriving and shutting the concert down. The rooftop concert has been a popular bootleg ever since, and was to be the final public performance by the Beatles.

The Beatles played five songs during the rooftop performance: "Get Back" (three times), "Don't Let Me Down" (twice), "I've Got a Feeling" (twice), "One After 909", and "Dig a Pony". (The Beatles also played a brief version of the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen" and a brief rehearsal of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" while second engineer Alan Parsons was changing tapes. Those performances were omitted from the film.) cite web | url=http://www.maccafan.net/Gallery/GetBackRehearsals/Rooftop.htm | title="The Rooftop Concert" | work=The Get Back Rehearsals | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006]

After the final song, McCartney says, "Thanks, Mo!" acknowledging the enthusiastic applause and cheering from Maureen Starkey. Then Lennon closes with his well-known remark, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition!" This exchange was spliced on to the end of the "Let It Be" album.

The end of "The Simpsons" episode detailing Homer's experience as part of a barbershop quartet ends with him, Apu, Barney and Skinner performing atop Moe's Tavern in an obvious parody of the rooftop scene in "Let It Be". In fact, George Harrison was the guest voice on this episode with him observing the rooftop show and saying "Ah! It's been done before!"

ongs in the "Let It Be" film

All songs credited to Lennon/McCartney, except where noted.

*"Paul's Piano Intro"
*"Don't Let Me Down"
*"Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
*"Two of Us"
*"I've Got a Feeling"
*"Oh! Darling"
*"One After 909"
*"Jazz Piano Song" (McCartney/Starkey)
*"Across the Universe"
*"Dig a Pony"
*"Suzy Parker" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey)
*"I Me Mine" (Harrison)
*"For You Blue" (Harrison)
*"Bésame Mucho" (Consuelo Velázquez/Sunny Skylar)
*"Octopus's Garden" (Starkey)
*"You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (Smokey Robinson)
*"The Long and Winding Road"
*"Shake Rattle and Roll" (Jesse Stone (under his working name Charles E. Calhoun))
*"Kansas City" (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
*"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Lloyd Price)
*"Dig It"
*"Let It Be"
*"Get Back"

Other songs played during the "Get Back"/"Let It Be" sessions (but not featured in the "Let It Be" film) include: "Love Me Do"; "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"; "Strawberry Fields Forever"; "Lady Madonna"; "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"; "Run for Your Life"; "All Things Must Pass" (Harrison); "The Back Seat of My Car" (McCartney); "Child of Nature" (Lennon), which was later reworked to become "Jealous Guy"; "Every Night" (McCartney); "Teddy Boy" (McCartney); "Gimme Some Truth" (Lennon); and "I Lost My Little Girl" (McCartney), which was the first song written by McCartney, when he was 14. [cite web | url=http://www.npr.org/programs/asc/archives/live031403/ | title="Watch the Lost Beatles" | work=NPR's Online Music Show | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006]

Premiere and awards

The film premiered at the Liverpool Gaumont on Wednesday May 20 1970; and the Beatles won an Oscar for "Let It Be" under the category "Best Music, Original Song Score" and a "Best Original Score" Grammy. [cite web | url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065976/awards | title="Awards for Let It Be" | work=Internet Movie Database | accessmonthday=October 29 | accessyear=2006] None of the four Beatles attended the Oscar Awards ceremony.

Availability of the film

The film has been out of circulation since being released on VHS video, RCA SelectaVision videodisc, and laserdisc in the early 1980s. These early video copies were considerably poorer quality than the original theatrical release of the film because of rough conversion from 8-millimetre and 16-millimetre prints. DVD bootlegs of the film are usually derived from VHS or visually superior laserdisc versions, although there are very few laserdiscs that are in pristine performance condition as a result of laser rot.

In a February 2007 interview with Neil Aspinall regarding the remastering of the film for DVD release, he stated, "The film was so controversial when it first came out. When we got halfway through restoring it, we looked at the outtakes and realized: this stuff is still controversial. It raised a lot of old issues." [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,251410,00.html FOXNews.com - Beatles Ready for Legal Downloading Soon - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment ] ]


Further reading

* "Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles "Let it Be" Disaster", by Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999. ISBN 0-312-19981-3. An exhaustive analysis of all the surviving session tapes.

External links


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