Disney+ [Finally] Announces the Let It Be! Film

Disney+ announced today that the long-awaited restored version of the Beatles 1970 film Let It Be will finally be available for streaming on Disney+ starting on May 8, 2024. When Apple announced Peter Jackson’s Get Back project back in 2019, fans were assured that Let It Be would also be released, but in a new completely remastered version with improved video and audio using the latest technology. This led many fans to believe that the Let It Be movie would be part of the 50th anniversary releases of the 1970 Let It Be album that got pushed back to 2021 due to Covid. But alas, Apple could not let it be.

THE BEATLES: LET IT BE, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Apple Films Ltd.

With today’s news that the Let It Be movie is finally being re-released, people may wonder why this even matters. After all, Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary is nearly eight hours long. It is the definitive story of the Beatles January 1969 sessions. Why do we need a ninety-minute film from 1970 that many Beatles fans found depressing? Well, for starters, Let It Be is one of the five Beatles movies released from 1964 through 1970. Its historical importance demands that it be available once again. In addition, Let It Be has some musical performances that are not in Get Back. When I saw the film way back in 1970, I was equally excited about the film’s last two segments: the final studio session from January 31; and the January 30 rooftop concert. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg wisely reversed the order of these scenes because he believed the movie should end with the excitement of the open-air concert. For me, experiencing complete performances of “Two Of Us,” “The Long And Winding Road” and “Let It Be” was thrilling. After all, the latter two songs had been embellished with horns and/or strings. I hated what Phil Spector had done to “The Long And Winding Road,” adding over-the-top strings, a female chorus and a harp. He turned Paul’s beautiful, simple plaintive ballad into a lush, syrupy production number. But in the theater, I got to hear the song in pristine (for 1970) sound as nature intended.

Peter Jackson, who had committed to a day-by-day chronological approach to the sessions, could not reverse the order, so he downplayed the January 31 session, providing only a taste of the day’s proceedings over the film’s closing credits. In the supplement to my book The Beatles Finally Let It Be, I wrote: “Jackson’s decision to drop the pristine performances of ‘Two Of Us,’ ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and ‘Let It Be’ is both understanding and disappointing. The good news is that they are in the Let It Be film, which will eventually be reissued with improved video and audio.” Well, that day will finally come on May 8 with the streaming of the Let It Be on Disney+. Physical product will almost certainly be issued later this year. Rejoice, the Beatles finally let it be.

To celebrate this good news, the Collector’s Edition of my book The Beatles Finally Let It Be will be on sale for $70 (in honor of the original 1970 movie) starting today and running through April 24, 2024.       

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