“Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson is restoring previously unreleased footage of The Beatles for a new documentary showing them in the final days of the band.
The film will use 55 hours of rare studio session footage and 140 hours of audio taken between Jan. 2-31, 1969, at The Beatles’ recording studio, Abbey Road Studios, while they made what would become their last album together, “Let It Be.”
This new material “ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about — it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together,” said Jackson in a press release about the upcoming documentary.
The as yet unnamed project was announced on Jan. 30, the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ famous, final concert on the rooftop of the band’s Apple Corp. office in London.
Jackson may be better known for his “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies, but he’s also a history buff and documentarian. He recently released a stunning World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old,” that used advanced restoration, coloration and editing techniques to bring to life vintage war footage from the British trenches.
The same restoration techniques will be used on the “Let It Be” footage.
“Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s — in concerts, interviews and movies — this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio,” Jackson said.
“Sure, there’s moments of drama,” Jackson added, referencing the tension among The Beatles that would lead to their split, “but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating — it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate.”
The new documentary is being done with the permission of Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and the spouses of late Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon.
It comes after last summer’s restoration and re-release of iconic Beatles animated movie “Yellow Submarine.”
The original “Let It Be” movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be restored and re-released after the new documentary comes out. A release date for either of the films has yet to be announced.