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Film and TV

Get Back

The Beatles’ rooftop gig in London, 1969. Apple Corps Ltd/Disney+

Get Back is gorgeous, says Kevin Maher in The Times. The three-parter is a “righteous redux” of the 1970 documentary Let It Be, which followed the Beatles – not yet in their thirties – during their “allegedly fractious final days”. A scruffily bearded Paul McCartney sings a snatch of Oh! Darling at John Lennon. George Harrison sticks lit cigarettes between his guitar strings in case he needs a drag mid-solo. The band get hammered on whisky and the recording goes skewwhiff. Watching Ringo Starr’s Octopus’s Garden come together in seconds as the band collaborate, or McCartney plucking Get Back from thin air, is a reminder that “you are witnessing unalloyed genius at work”.

Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson took on Get Back in 2017, says Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone. The documentary builds up to their famous rooftop concert at the end of January 1969, their last public performance. There’s Ringo farting, the band meeting Yoko Ono for the first time, and plenty of fire. When George quits, someone quips: “If he doesn’t come back by Tuesday, get Clapton.” Jackson finds the joy, serving up mirth, music and madcap laughs. The Beatles fight. They sulk. Jackson has taken 60 hours of fly-on-the-wall 16mm film footage and 120 hours of audio. Unless you’re a superfan, at eight hours it’s too long – but Jackson is already talking about an 18-hour director’s cut. Count me in.

Get Back is on Disney+. Watch a trailer here.

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