New Beatles documentary directed by Peter Jackson, of 'Lord of the Rings' fame

The announcement comes on the 50th anniversary of the band's final public performance: a fabled, high-energy concert on the roof of Apple Records in London.
Image: The Beatles sitting outside studios in North London January 1967.
The Beatles sitting outside studios in North London January 1967.Express Newspapers via AP Images

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By Daniel Arkin

Peter Jackson, the Oscar-winning director behind the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is teaming up with the Beatles.

Jackson will helm a new documentary about the recording sessions that produced "Let It Be," the group's Grammy-winning final album. The as-yet-untitled project will be based on 55 hours of never-released footage shot in January 1969, the filmmaker said in an announcement on Twitter.

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"It's simply an amazing historical treasure-trove," Jackson said.

The sessions that led to "Let It Be" were previously chronicled in a documentary of the same name by British director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. That film, released not long after the Beatles split up in 1970, is widely seen as a portrait of brewing tensions and strained relationships.

But in the announcement of the new film, Jackson suggested the additional archival footage paints a different picture. "Sure, there's moments of drama — but none of the discord this project has long been associated with," he said.

The announcement arrives on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' final public performance: a fabled, high-energy concert on the roof of Apple Records in London. It also comes soon after the release of "They Shall Not Grow Old," Jackson's documentary about World War I that is largely culled from archival original footage.

Jackson's film is being made with the cooperation of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widow of George Harrison.

McCartney, for his part, had hinted that a more feel-good alternative to the original "Let It Be" documentary was in the works.

“I know people have been looking at the [unreleased] footage,” the legendary rocker said in an interview with Canada’s Radio X last year. “And someone was talking to me the other day and said: ‘The overall feeling is very joyous and very uplifting. It’s like a bunch of guys making music and enjoying it.’”