Apple presents: "Let It Be"
When Let It Be was released in 1971, The Beatles had just broken up. It seemed likely to be the last film which featured the Supergroup together. While practically the entire world awaited the long-hoped for Beatles reunion, Let It Be took on ever greater significance. This film, therefore, is among the important documents of the most influential group in the history of popular music.
When director Michael Lindsay-Hogg made this low-key documentary, he had no idea as to what the future would hold for the British popular group. He knew, however, that The Beatles were having their problems individually and collectively. Let It Be offers many clues to the coming breakup, clues which, in retrospect, seem to offer many hints as to what the future held for the four young men who revolutionized popular music. There are also many moments of heartbreaking nostalgia in the film since there were moments of wonderful spontaneity among the group members in the early days. These signs of happier time make Let It Be a virtual treasure-chest of pop music memories.
Let It Be is structured around musical rehearsals at the Apple Studios and the recording of The Beatles' album "Let It Be." The film features amusing reminiscences by Paul McCartney, who recalls the group's origins, their club dates, the first concert they gave at the Albert Hall, and the group's trip to India, which became one of the most celebrated media-events in pop history. The all-important relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono is revealed in the film as Yoko seems an ever-present figure at John's side. Yoko, who was the object of much criticism in the early 70s, has now come to be recognized as a positive and crucial force in Lennon's life, although at the time of Let It Be, she was something of an enigma. John seems a bit withdrawn in this film, a portent of what he would go through in the 70s.
Let It Be is, however, a film about musicians and concentrates on their music. Despite their differences, the four had an instinctive communication between them. For example, when Paul once broke out in a comic rendition of "Besa Me Mucho," the other three join in to complete the number in high style. Old-fashioned rock 'n roll gave them much pleasure when organist Billy Preston sits in for rocking numbers like "Shake, Rattle 'n Roll," "Kansas City" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Somewhat more organized are the in-studio renditions of "Get Back" and "Let It Be."
The most joyful moment in the film comes when The Beatles decide to hold an impromptu rooftop concert. The four, John, Paul, George and Ringo, set up their instruments high atop the Apple Studios and hold a concert for the benefit of the open air. A throng of people gather below to hear this rare and wonderful offering. Even the police, called upon to investigate, are won over by the beloved foursome.
Let It Be is an important film, not because it's any more revealing about a rock group than other musical documentaries, but because it focuses on The Beatles. To a great extent than other rock figures, (including Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan) The Beatles helped usher in not just a new era in music, but a new international lifestyle. The enormous changes brought about in the 60s can be attributed to the dynamic influence of The Beatles. That's an enormous claim to be made for four young men from Liverpool, but it's true. Let It Be, therefore, is a glimpse into history. (author unknown)
Mastered from the Magnetic Video Corporation laserdisc release.
NTSC, PCM, 81 minutes.