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Let It Be (1970)

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Originally arranged as rehearsals for a one-off live show, the TV documentary/concert McCartney envisioned devolved instead into a depressing fly-on-the-wall ogle at The Beatles‘ dissolution.

Lindsay-Hogg deliberately placed cameras where the band wouldn’t notice them, giving us the first rockumentary to capture – without commentary – the end of a musical dream, vision, and era.

With all four of the band already pursuing personal projects, the tensions that would cause the final split were clearly in evidence from the start.

letitbe2George Harrison, in fact, walked out of The Beatles during the filming after a huge row with Paul. And although he came back, the problems were not resolved, with George feeling he wasn’t sufficiently recognised as a writer and musician by Paul.

The ill-feeling between George and Paul was preserved on the film: At one point Paul says, “I always seem to be annoying you”. George replies, “All right. I’ll play whatever you want me to play, or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play”.

But even amid the interpersonal strife, Lindsay-Hogg’s cinéma-vérité record proves the band was still capable of producing classic pop music, most notably with the much-imitated impromptu back-to-basics performance on the roof of the Apple headquarters.

John Lennon ties it all up when the music is over: “I want to thank you on behalf of the band and myself, and . . . uh . . . I hope we passed the audition.”

Astonishingly honest in its revelations, this underrated – and Oscar-winning – film provides a saddening, but pointedly intentional insight into the end of a dream.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
John Lennon
John Lennon
George Harrison
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr
Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
Billy Preston
Billy Preston

Director
Michael Lindsay-Hogg

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