“Get Back,” (3 parts), December 10-15, 2021, Disney Channel, 9 hours, non-narrative documentary. Composed by Peter Jackson from 60 hours of film and 120 hours of music, plus a variety of stills and earlier footage, this chronicles the month leading up to the Beatles’ rooftop performance, their last, that yielded some of the materials from “Let It Be,” their last album. Produced by Jackson, Paul and Ringo get producer credits along with Yoko and Olivia Harrison. Production itself took place in New Zealand.
It’s a remarkable journey as you see and hear the evolution of classic songs from a scattering of notes and words. But its sooooooo much more, as the film follows the dynamics of a band coming apart at the seams. In contrast to popular myths of the time, Yoko didn’t split the Beatles anymore than Linda did. They were at the end of the long and winding road and by the time they put this work together, drawing on songs by each, they were done. There wasn’t anywhere to go. Why make another album? Paul’s driving them forward at the beginning, ruling the roost, but by the end, they’re on the same page. The last one. And it’s a remarkable journey. They’re no longer young rockers, they’re who they are, flaws and all, as adults. They’re still wild and crazy each in their own way, and they each need to go their own way.
It’s not that it’s always exciting. That many versions of “Get Back” and, grrrrr, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” got to be a bit much, but I grew to love song’s I’d barely considered before, like “Dig a Pony,” “Across the Universe,” “My, Me, Mine,” “One After 909,” as well as their established triumphs. This is a must-see for anyone who seek to understand the dynamics of their collective and individual creativity and the arc of their dissolution. It will be a revelation. After several nights of viewing and 9 hours of film, I turned to Bronwen and said, “I want more.”