Get Back Release Date: September 4, 2020

Michael Gerber
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Thanks to our ever-vigilant @Hologram Sam, we now know that Peter Jackson’s frenzied attempt at making the 1969 Get Back sessions less of an unholy drag will premiere on September 4, 2020. Mike will not be there. Mike may never be there, unless all of you say it’s wonderful. Mike’s teenaged years were scarred by many, many Twickenham bootlegs, and Mike DOES NOT FORGET.

“State-of-the-art image-correction technology will be used to make Paul less pushy, George less sullen, and Ringo less cold,” said a Disney spokesman. “It will also sweep the opiates from John and Yoko’s bloodstream.”

The film will be sponsored by McVitie’s.

(The date is right. Everything else was a joke.)

PS, also not a joke: did you know that Michael Lindsay-Hogg was very possibly Orson Welles’ son?

PPS, a joke: this setting is only slightly less depressing than the setting for They Shall Not Grow Old. C’mon Peter — restore something nice for a change.

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16 Comments

  1. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    It finally occurred to me why I am so depressed by the original footage. It’s those color gels Lindsay-Hogg chose. They fill me with despair. It’s almost a physical reaction. There’s something faded and tacky and… 1970… about them. If Mr. Jackson can saturate or brighten them up it might help my mood.

    The color gels give me the same sinking feeling I got from all those years of hearing low fidelity Let It Be era bootlegs. The murky guitars, the slow and drunken-sounding “fun” covers of old ’50s tunes. And not to offend anyone here, but Paul’s yellow sweater. It all makes me feel bad. I almost wish Lindsay-Hogg had inherited enough talent from Mr. Welles to release it in B&W. Noir Beatles, 1940 style. All that cigarette smoke!

    Is it too late in the restoration process for me to send Jackson an email?

    • To me, the Twickenham Sessions are the beginning of Britain’s Horrible Seventies. You’re right, @Sam, there’s something incredibly tatty about them. If you look at any footage — Beatles, Swinging London, anything really — from 1966 or 1967, it’s bright and stylish and colorful. But then you get to 1969 and…wow. Everybody looks a little tired, a little beat-up, and London looks grimy and falling-down.
      .
      The amazing thing is that John, Paul, George and Ringo were the four most glamorous people on earth. I don’t think they can take a bad photograph. And yet…Let It Be is the only time I’ve ever looked at The Beatles and thought, “I should probably go.” You smell the B.O. and the filled ashtrays.

  2. Avatar jim wrote:

    where did you get that date? everything i have seen states a date several weeks earlier (sept 4th)
    https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/peter-jackson-beatles-documentary-gets-155805882.html

    also, ml-h has written a book about his parentage–there is no doubt he is the son of welles.

    • Oops — date fixed. Thank you!
      .
      According to Wikipedia, and we trust Wikipedia at our peril, it’s unproven. His mother denied it, “but in such detail that he was left confused and dubious.” Mom’s chum Gloria Vanderbilt confirmed it, but she wasn’t there. (OR WAS SHE? 🙂 Anyway, a Welles biographer sayeth nay. I personally believe he is, but that’s just because I feel it would be more entertaining.

  3. I personally don’t give a shit if it’s good or not. I just want the chance to see Johnny on the big screen again.

  4. Avatar Michelle wrote:

    I’ve seen and heard plenty of Let It Be footage, outtakes and “fly on the wall” conversations and never understood why people found it depressing. They seemed to be having a great time and joking with each other a lot. I think it was the White Album sessions where most of the strife occurred. I look forward to this.

  5. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Paul said this in 1969: “It’s going to be such an incredible comical thing in 50 years time… they broke up because Yoko sat on an amp.”

  6. That’s what I’ve always thought too.

  7. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    If you look at any footage — Beatles, Swinging London, anything really — from 1966 or 1967, it’s bright and stylish and colorful.

    .
    I wish Lindsay-Hogg had used Richard Lester’s HELP! cinematographer. The “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl” segment in the recording studio scene is gorgeous.
    .
    I wasn’t kidding when I said I would have preferred a B&W Let It Be. I’m a fan of old 1930s/’40s films, and I really like how Swinging London looked in pre-color footage. 1964-1958 looks so good to me: The moody B&W noir was improved by the newer sharp European tailoring. If Lindsay-Hogg wanted to be really dramatic, he could have switched to full color at the first note of the rooftop concert.
    .
    I’m looking forward to seeing Jackson’s restoration on the big screen, but I suspect the September release may be pushed ahead if this current pandemic persists.

  8. I’m sure most of you probably know this, but one of the reasons Let It Be looks like shit is because it was shot on 16mm with the intent of broadcasting it on television. When it became apparent that wasn’t gonna happen, the film was blown up to 35mm for theatrical release, resulting in the grainy shit to which we’ve all grown accustomed. This is where Peter Jackson and crew can really work their magic.
    .
    The main reason the film sucks is that it is an incoherent mess. I really wish I could get some idea of why Lindsey-Hogg’s cut the film the way he did. To me it just looks lazy and not even thought out, like he was in a rush to finish. If he really is Orson’s son, he didn’t inherit any of his filmmaking ability.

    • @Beasty, that’s one of the million Beatle facts I once knew, so thank you for the reminder. The graininess blows, but it’s the murky colors that get to me.
      .
      The thing is, I loved “They Shall Not Grow Old” — but so much of that was wonder at a distant past coming alive. This is not a particularly distant past; the film and recording tech is not why people feel alienated from the Fabs in the movie. It’s that they’re fighting, miserable, and (sorry) most of the songs just aren’t very good. There were bands that could jam, and play roots rock — the Stones, the Band. But those bands developed in that way in opposition to what The Beatles did so well. You have the two greatest popular songwriters of the 20th Century, and they’re singing “Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues.” The BBC stuff is one thing, and I love it for what it was, and when it was — a young band, making an R&B songbook their own. But in 1968? After Revolver, after Pepper, after the White Album?
      .
      “Let It Be” always struck me as watching the best band ever purposely not do what it was best at, for reasons of bullshit political fashion.

  9. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    And the funny thing about Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues is that it was written by Bill Katz, Ruth Roberts, and Bob Thiele (under his alias “Stanley Clayton”) specifically for Buddy Holly. Bob Thiele was a record executive and jazz musician who signed Holly & The Crickets to Coral Records.

    So this isn’t even the Beatles attempting an actual R&B cover, it’s just them unspooling their teenage memories of favorite white artists, and in (IMHO) a somewhat mocking tone.
    .

    I really wish I could get some idea of why Lindsey-Hogg’s cut the film the way he did.

    .
    I remember reading somewhere (was it here?) an interview with Lindsay-Hogg (such an upper-class name!) where he admitted he purposely focused on the Beatles’ conflicts. Maybe he hoped it would make a grittier and more “real” film, rather than the depressing hodgepodge it turned out to be.

    Does anyone remember that interview, or did I dream it?

    • I don’t remember that interview, but it would be Filmmaking 101, especially once it became clear that there was going to be no Concert in Tunisia or whatever. ML-H had to answer the question, “What is this movie about, anyway?” and he probably decided, “The tension and possible break-up,” because that’s what was right in front of him.
      .
      Yes, exactly right about Mailman, @Sam — I’d actually like to hear The Beatles doing authentic Beatlized versions of R&B hits. But they’re not really engaged, and it shows.

  10. Musically, my least favorite thing about the Get Back sessions is that John and Paul stopped singing like the Beatles. Paul started taking the low harmony in his Elvis voice, and John started taking the higher harmony. There was no reason to do this. They don’t have the same chemistry with this arrangement; their voices don’t blend with this arrangement; and they communicate far les with this arrangement. If you wanted to break it down further, you could say it represents so many other things that were fixed without being broken: no overdubs, no George Martin, Johnandyoko, working on For You Blue and leaving All Things Must Pass in the can, Paul’s hair. John and Paul’s harmonies are the Beatles’ sound. It’s symptomatic of something that has gone very wrong in their relationship and in their decision making process that they did this.

    If there’s a logical explanation, it’s that they were trying to sound like the Band. But the Beatles had so much more to offer than The Band. They could write surprising chord progressions, play music across a swathe of styles, write words that were sui genesis, not derivative of country and blues traditions, and sing in so many different timbres and contexts. They could conjure up entire worlds with their production. What Mike Gerber says about the Stones’ derivativeness I feel about the Band: it’s not an artistic feat on the same plane as Beatles or Dylan or Brian Wilson to copy music that’s been part of an old tradition, but be cool enough that consumers who aren’t interested in doing the digging think you came up with it. It’s reflective of the Beatles’ distemper that all they could agree on doing in early 1969 was imitating—not bettering—Music from Big Pink. 1966 Beatles would never have done that.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      “Fixed without being broken” — you nailed what I dislike about most of the “Get Back” sessions, Michael B. Although it also says everything about why I’m still contributing to a Beatles blog in 2020 that some of the work that made it on to “Let It Be” still manages to be better than a lot of other band’s best work. IMHO, of course.

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