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The Beatles: Get Back

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The Beatles make one last record in the first trailer for the Get Back documentary

Peter Jackson unearths and republishes footage of The Beatles’ last hurray, with exasperating and exasperating results.

PPeople come to love the Beatles in different ways. For many Millennial fans, it was their parents’ records that put them on this straight path. Others, like Peter Jackson, were first introduced to the group through the Red and Blue compilation albums. I initially rejected Beatles music when my mom gave me these colorful CDs when I was a teenager, but Michael Jackson passed away and Paul McCartney’s sweet voice on the duet “The Girl is Mine” finally got me. leads to an intense obsession with the Fab Four. .

This passion was largely fueled by the blogging site Tumblr, which gave me the chance to view and save in a dedicated file on my computer thousands of images and fan art of The Beatles, the modern version. of what the original Beatlemaniacs before me did when cutting magazine images. So the Tumblr fan in me is more than a little shaken by what Peter Jackson and his team have done with the new images available from what has been one of the Beatles’ saddest and most creative moments.

On January 2, 1969, the band gathered at Twickenham Studios for an unusual challenge: they had given themselves two weeks to write and rehearse new songs for an album that would then be recorded live in front of an audience, during a concert which would also be filmed for a television special.

The group who had already performed eight hours a day on stage for months at clubs in Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s lacked the camaraderie and excitement of live performance as they had stopped touring in 1966. It was, in a way, a chance to rekindle the spark after what had been a difficult and tense few months – which must have seemed like an eternity for the ever-prolific band.

The album and the movie took place, and until recently the band’s breakup was more remembered than anything else. Released in May 1970, the film Let It Be was released just three weeks after the split, which inevitably cast a tragic light on the footage of their rehearsals and recording sessions as presented in the ’80s film. minutes from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The album also occupied an odd place in The Beatles’ canon, as former band members disagreed that Phil Spector’s mastering and his famous “Wall of Sound” effect made the recordings intentionally stripped down. better or worse.

For all intents and purposes, Let It Be was, for a time, a project that most people involved and most fans, including this writer, naturally tended to ignore in conversations about the group. Fifty-one years later, filmmaker and restoration enthusiast Peter Jackson aims to set the record straight (or, at least, more accurately) on what exactly happened during those few weeks of January 1969. His epic three-part documentary The Beatles: Get Back is based on the 60 hours of footage and 150 hours of audio recordings that were captured then and kept in Apple Corps vaults for all of those years.

Any Beatles fan should be giddy at the prospect of this movie; however, no one could have predicted that the end result would be so visually strange. While the entire company is welcome in many ways, the fact that the Let It Be / ‘Get Back’ project was once again overly tinkered with only reinforces the sense of curse that surrounds it.

Shot in 16mm, the preferred format for television at the time, footage of the “Get Back” sessions was enlarged to 35mm as the project shifted from a TV special to a movie documentary, and contemporary critics were not kind to the grain of the resulting movie watched. Surprisingly, Jackson and his team seem to have learned the wrong lesson from this story. Rather than leaving the footage alone, which was shot for TV and will be watched on TV through Disney +, they decided to export the 16mm footage to the extremely crisp 4K video format and clean it up to an inch. life, removing scratches and excessively polishing surfaces and colors in the image.

Ringo has never looked smoother, and the group’s Playmobil haircuts appear to be plastic, with Jackson’s cutting-edge technology transforming entire strands of hair into a unified, shiny surface. Looking at older videos of relatively intact, grainy but beautiful footage of the same events on The Beatles’ YouTube channel, it’s clear that things shouldn’t have turned out that way.

It seems Jackson’s intention was to totally erase the feeling of looking at archival footage and the fetishism that goes with it. It’s a laudable project, and just like the near real-time aspect of the business, the lack of grain is supposed to make it easier to see the Beatles not as demigods or icons cut off from reality, but like people like you and me (Jackson used the same logic in his WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, smoothing, coloring, and resynchronizing even older footage).

“As the film cuts between long takes and extremely short takes with no respect for conventional editing, it sometimes feels like you’re watching a reality TV show.”

The nearly eight-hour runtime provides the ability to overcome the initial shock, but the brilliant cinematography never feels like you’re watching real people. What helps the debates is the editing of the footage from the various cameras that filmed the group in the studio and, later, in the basement of Apple’s offices. Jackson and his team painstakingly synchronized the audio with the footage from all available angles, creating an eerie atmosphere.

As the film oscillates between long shots and extremely short shots with no respect for conventional editing, it sometimes feels like you’re watching a reality TV show where the Beatles are stuck together in a large hall, making it is not a bad way to describe the arrangement.

The instruments of John, Paul, George and Ringo are set up on the first stage at Twickenham Studios, a huge room with an extremely high ceiling and, according to George, not very good acoustics. They begin to fall out nonetheless, and while they don’t behave particularly warmly towards each other, there is no indication of any real animosity. During these early days, Paul immediately takes the lead while John, with Yoko by his side, is almost completely silent but apparently not upset – in a charming moment he leads the others playing the Anton Karas theme from the third. man.

Ringo takes part in it, and so does George: the scene in which he recounts how he made up ‘I Me Mine’ the day before is particularly moving, with John and Yoko waltzing on the song already almost complete. Yet despite the deadline fast approaching, they spend most of their time playing rather than actively creating new songs, and it feels like the Beatles haven’t done that sort of thing – just play together – for a long time.

Almost every day includes discussions about the whole project with the director of the film and the other members of the team. A particular point of contention is the location and staging of the live show. This general indecision would seem normal to any non-Beatles person, but these early sessions are full of moments reminding us that the band is working on another level. At one point, someone has a directing idea very similar to something the band did in 1964. Director Lindsay-Hogg immediately dismisses it, saying it was four years ago, “and we are all 28 years old now.

These high expectations are deeply felt in McCartney’s demeanor and comments as the most proactive and least patient of the bunch. Although the Beatles’ breakup is most often blamed on the split between Lennon and McCartney, it’s here Harrison who calls out to Paul about his contemptuous attitude. Whether or not this is due to the camera effect, however, each exhibits a refreshing self-awareness and poise that does not fit with the common understanding of this tense period in the group’s history. .

Paul admits to being aware of his authoritarian attitude: later, when asked about Yoko’s presence, he imagines the simplistic readings that some people could have of the situation in 50 years – today – on the separation of the group because it was sitting on an amp. And no one ever raises their voice. When, at the end of the first week, George announces that he is leaving the group, we might as well talk about a lunch break.

How miserable they all were during that first week only becomes clear later, once John, Paul, and Ringo convince off-camera George to come back and vow to change the way things are done at the to come up. Leaving behind the “bad vibes” of Twickenham Studio, as George describes them, they move to a makeshift studio in the basement of their own Apple offices on Savile Row, and in the much smaller room, their connection is reestablished. George smiles more, but it’s John’s transformation that is most striking. His absurd humor makes a triumphant return and George even helps Paul on his new song ‘Get Back’.

One element Jackson handles very well is sound, and you can feel it for him and his team whose thankless job was to try to decipher some of the group’s conversations. One of the strongest impressions left by the series is the particular way Paul, John, George and Ringo communicate when writing songs. Not being classically trained, they have their own ways of making others understand what they are looking for, and their quasi-amateur methods appear to be incredibly fertile ground for their limitless creativity.

While the detailed, experience-driven, process-driven film doesn’t exactly rely on shock value to maintain interest, it does provide some sort of revelation in its portrayal of the infamous Rooftop Concert. After rejecting ideas such as doing the show on a cruise ship or on Primrose Hill, the band agree to perform on the roof of their own building, without any sort of permit and just hoping the ceiling doesn’t give way.

While I personally have always loved the footage of this performance for its rawness and power, it deviates considerably from the bobbing heads and high energy of previous Beatles shows – the Fab Four looks really chilling and the Puzzled passers-by on the street below and on neighboring rooftops don’t seem particularly excited. By including much more footage from the band as they perform “Get Back”, “Don’t Let Me Down” and other songs, Jackson is acclimating viewers to this cold January day, as is the band themselves. would have been.

The four men seem to get more and more elated as they play, and although Lennon soon complains about his icy fingers, he’s the happiest he’s ever seen in the entire series. Additional interviews on the street with random people reacting to this impromptu and totally unannounced performance further anchor the event in reality and reveal a crowd of people who are far from swooning with excitement, but nonetheless in disbelief and elated.

Jackson’s series isn’t without its flaws (crisp, boring), but it manages to do what even my over-excited, Beatles-obsessed youngest never dared hope: it somewhat solves the mystery of the how these four Liverpool guys achieved what they did, without taking anything away from their magic.

Reference of the Article-post – lwlies