Let It Be Movie • Hard Day’s Night Book • Rolling Stones at Jazz Fest

This past week was quite a busy one for me and 498 Productions. On Monday, I flew to New York for a screening of the remastered version of the 1970 film Let It Be. My expectations were high after seeing the wonderful work Peter Jackson had done with the January 1969 film footage in his Get Back documentary.

Disney Hosts Special Screening Of “The Beatles: Let It Be” In New York – What’s On Disney Plus (whatsondisneyplus.com)

Fortunately, there was no let down as Let It Be looked and sounded fabulous. In addition to the greatly improved fidelity of the musical performances, you could clearly hear what the Beatles were saying as they worked on songs and discussed the project. And seeing it on the big screen in a modern movie theater with a Dolby sound system added to the experience. Prior to the screening, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Apple’s Jonathan Clyde talked about the original movie and its restoration by Peter Jackson.

Naysayers have questioned why we still need Let It Be given that the Get Back documentary is more thorough and supposedly “set the record straight” as to what actually went on during the sessions. But there are numerous reasons why Let It Be is still relevant. For starters, it is one of four movies released by the Beatles from 1964 through 1970, the others being A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour. Logistically, the movie is 81 minutes long in contrast to the near eight-hour running time of the Peter Jackson documentary. When you are dealing with the Beatles, less is certainly not more; however, as a practical matter, not everyone has eight hours to watch the full documentary over and over again. The 1970 movie has much to offer that was not repeated in the Peter Jackson opus, the most important being complete performances from the day after the rooftop concert of “Two Of Us,” “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road.” And for those who mistakenly believe that the 1970 film fails to show the Beatles having fun during the sessions, there are scenes of the group experiencing the joys of a rock ’n’ roll medley (where George starts things off with the Little Richard rendition of “Kansas City” while Paul mistakenly sings the opening to Little Richard’s “Miss Ann”) and the Miracles’ “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” While the latter performance pales in comparison to the Beatles 1963 studio rendition, it does not matter. The sub-standard singing is overshadowed by the enthusiasm shown by the Beatles and Billy Preston. It’s contagious. Another highlight is the improvised rock’n’roll original “Suzy Parker” (a/k/a “Suzy’s Parlor”).  

Experiencing Let It Be now is vastly different than it was back in 1970. Paul had just announced he had quit the Beatles shortly before the film’s release. We were looking for clues as to what had caused the breakup. Was it Yoko? Was it a fight between Paul and George? Was it Paul bossing the others as they worked through songs? Was it John looking bored as Paul talked about the project? This sobering perspective made the film a bit of a downer. It was like your parents returning from vacation and telling you they were getting a divorce. And rather than explaining the reason for the breakup, they say: “We’d like you to watch these home movies we took during our trip.” And while the first part of the film was tough for me to watch, I left the theater in high spirits due to the performances of “Two Of Us,” “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road” followed by the rooftop concert. This time around, the film went by quickly. There was no sadness, only nostalgic joy of seeing the film again. While those viewing the film on Disney+ starting on May 8 will not be able to duplicate the full theater experience, watching Let It Be on a home system will still be quite rewarding. Or, as Paul sings: “There will be no sorrow, let it be.”

On Tuesday, I reviewed the printer’s proofs for the book’s cover and a few problematic interior pages. While the revised pages looked great, the cover was significantly darker than anticipated. Diana and I spent significant time tweaking the color of the cover until we came up with a green background that would look good for both the digital and print editions of the book.

On Thursday morning, I received a hard copy of the revised cover. This time it looked great. After informing the printer that we were satisfied with all interior pages and the book’s cover, I sent the printer my formal approval.

I then went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest to see the Rolling Stones. While there were times when the guitar playing got a bit sloppy, overall, the band put on a tremendous performance. The highlight for me was New Orlean’s own Irma Thomas singing “Time Is On My Side” with the band. It was her version of the song that formed the basis for the Stones’ 1964 recording of the song.

1 Comment

  1. Leslie Samuels Healy on May 6, 2024 at 2:01 pm

    Sounds like you had a marvelous week! Can’t wait to see the improved version of Let It Be, hope it comes to an IMAX at some point down the road. Very much looking forward to your new book, will get it at the Fest. Have a blessed spring. Your friend, BeatleTripper

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