Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MIA on DVD: Let it Be (1970, Michael Lindsay-Hogg)

With today being officially branded "Beatles appreciation day" marked by the long-awaited digital remastering of their albums, the first audio upgrade since their CD debut way back in 1987 and the release of the Beatles Rock Band video game (hey kids, now you can play along with your favorite Beatles tune without the nag of knowing how to play an instrument), I am reminded that in the entire media oeuvre of the band, one item continues to be a gapping absence, the 1970 behind the scenes documentary, Let it Be.

Shot during the recording session of what would be their final released album, and premiering in cinemas the same day, Let it Be, though meandering at times, offers a glimpse at the "real" Beatles, the biggest stars in the world, as they struggle in the rehearsal studio with songs and each other's ego, bicker amongst themselves and break off into factions, a direct contrast to the more bubbly image of the band that was nurtured in their other, fictitious, films: A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Yellow Submarine, all of which are not so coincidentally readily available on DVD in deluxe special feature leaden editions. Additionally, Let it Be offers the historical artifact of the band's final rooftop concert.

I wonder if John Lennon was the main surviving songwriter instead of Paul McCartney, who is very protective of the Beatles' "brand", if the film would be more accessible. A 2-disc DVD edition was in the works and penciled for a 2003 release to coincide with the Phil Spector production removal of the album (Let it Be...Naked), but was deemed to be still too controversial. The fact is that most people have the same mindset as McCartney, they love the image of the Beatles more than some of the harsher truths, most pertinent being that towards the end, the lovable fab four pretty much hated one another. And if or when Let it Be is released, it's sales probably won't come anywhere close to the other previously mentioned cinematic ventures. Still denying the more darker aspects of the group, I use the word "darker" loosely, one could also more easily apply the word "human" in its place, is ultimately feeble, people who do the research will find the truth, and the fans of the band who know their Beatles history deserve a definitive copy of the one missing essential portion of the collection.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the film's release, the Beatles and Apple Incorporated being big proponents of celebration, one hopes they would mark the occasion with the first authorized edition since the early 1980's. In the meantime, bootlegs comprised of poor dubs of those 80's prints can be found at most collectible conventions and finer swap meets.

psst..someone put up the entire film on the YouTube, here's part 1:


Mummbles said...

thats very interesting, I would like to see this MIA DVD

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