Ringo Starr Says the Beatles' 'Let It Be' Film Had 'No Real Joy'—Until Now

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

“I was always moaning about the original film, because there was no real joy in it,” Ringo Starr recalls to The Daily Beast of the 1970 documentary film Let It Be, which was released just weeks after news of the Beatles’ split had hit the press.

Since Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary premiered on Disney+ in 2021, even the most casual Beatles fan knows what Starr is talking about. The Let It Be film and album were a dismal affair for all involved. Salvaged from the ashes of Paul McCartney’s idea for the Beatles to “get back,” literally, to their roots by writing and recording a new album, the nearly 60 hours of footage filmed by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg during January 1969 chronicled the end of the greatest creative collaboration of the last century.

But Let It Be got only a limited theatrical release in 1970. Now, at long last, a restored version arrives on Disney+ this week.

“All these years, did I wish it to come out? Of course. Did I hope it would? Well, you know, hope is a like a candle: sometimes it flickers and sometimes it’s bright and sometimes it goes out,” Lindsay-Hogg admits. Dressed nattily and holding forth in a Disney conference room in midtown Manhattan, the 84-year-old director looked preternaturally youthful when we recently met to discuss Let It Be, which has been wonderfully restored by Jackson’s team after he used Lindsay-Hogg’s footage for Get Back. “The catalyst, really, was Peter Jackson. Right from the beginning, he was very direct and very respectful.”

Of course, back in 1969 and ’70, things didn’t go according to plan, either. John Lennon was preoccupied with his then-blossoming relationship with Yoko Ono (and dabbling in heroin), and George Harrison had finally had enough, having just returned from a visit with Bob Dylan and the Band in Woodstock, where he had been treated with the respect he no doubt felt he deserved. Even Starr, frustrated by the ever-increasing tensions among the band members, had struck out in films and began contemplating a solo career in earnest.

Source: Jeff Slate/


Leave your comment
Beatles Radio Listener Poll
What Beatles Era do you like better?