Peter Jackson’s exhausting and sometimes soap-operatic homage to the hectic days of the Fab Four’s creation of a legendary album moves from Disney Plus to the high definition disc format in The Beatles: Get Back (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, rated TV-14, 1.66:1 aspect ratio, 468 minutes, $44.99).
Combing through 60 hours of film footage and 150 hours of audio recordings, Mr. Jackson and his team assemble a day-by-day, roughly four-hour chronicle of highlights of the Beatles’ sessions that took place in January of 1969 for 22 days and culminated with the famed, 42-minute rooftop concert on Jan. 30th.
The Beatles’ goal was to write and rehearse 14 songs to be performed live within a two-week period in front of an audience with their efforts being captured on a massive soundstage at Twickenham Film Studios by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
The Fab Four — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — were crammed into the corner often on wooden chairs in the large soundstage with Ringo on and off a drum riser during the sometimes tense and grueling odyssey,
The band’s daunting task included dealing with the creatively stifling space as well as an intrusive production crew. Music producer George Martin had to tell them to turn down their amps as their conversations were always being recorded.
Despite the occasional visits by Patti Harrison and Paul’s girlfriend Linda Eastman, I have to believe equally uber annoying to the band was the ever-smothering presence of John’s girlfriend Yoko Ono sitting next to them (sewing, eating, cleaning her fingernails, reading, etc.).
Another three hours were devoted to covering the recording the album live in the basement of Apple’s headquarters.
Moments that fascinate abound, including George and Paul politely arguing; Paul literally creating “Get Back” right in front of Ringo and George as they listen, Paul tinkling “Let It Be” on the ivories; George quietly walking out and quitting; Paul, Ringo and John coming back from a meeting and having a musical nervous breakdown led by Yoko on vocals; and Paul reading tabloid stories about the band’s supposed difficulties, as John sings “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”
Most memorable was watching them laugh as a group, reminiscing about the past and forgetting the angst.
Viewers are privy to the Beatles playing through the creation or memory of dozens of songs including “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Two of Us,” “One After 909,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “I’m So Tired,” “You Wear Your Women Out,” “Get Back,” “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Golden Slumbers,” “My Baby Left Me” and “I Dig a Pony,”
Hard-core Beatles fans will be entranced throughout. Even casual fans and observers will run a mix of emotions — intrigued, astonished, excited, bored and amazed.
Best extras: Unfortunately, owners get no extra digital content i.e., any optional commentary track with Mr. Jackson or featurettes on the compiling and restoration of the footage.
However, they do get the three Blu-ray discs housed in a glossy, fold-out book with each disc in its own cardboard sleeve and all protected by a sturdy cardboard slipcover.
The book and slipcover display color and black-and-white photos of the band throughout.
An additional sleeve on the right side of the book contains photo-paper quality collector’s cards spotlighting each band member.