The Crank: ‘Let It Be’ Program Notes (4/4/13 Screening)

The Crank is a graduate student organization that runs weekly screenings of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s extensive holdings. The Crank shows films that either are not widely available on video or are such spectacular specimens of nitrate and celluloid that merely to see them on a television set would be a crime both to the student of film and to the canon of film history.

When Let It Be finally premiered in 1970, subtle interpersonal tensions on display throughout the film had already burst into public knowledge. The Beatles were over. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s film captures a month of one of the band’s final recording sessions at Twickenham Film Studios and Apple Studios in London, and culminates in The Beatles’ final public performance in January 1969. Instead of matching the festive tone of earlier Beatles movies, Lindsay-Hogg’s film presents them in a more sobering light, making their eminent dissolution all the more apparent.

Let It Be has a rough, disorganized quality to it that is matched by its production history. Lindsay-Hogg shot on 16mm film for an intended television special to accompany The Beatles’ new album Get Back. Lindsay-Hogg worked in television and had directed TV promotional performances for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. When he began filming, The Beatles were planning an internationally televised concert that the “behind the scenes” documentary would accompany. George Harrison, however, threatened the leave the band for a variety of reasons, including the concert. As the footage grew and television plans dissipated, the idea for a 35mm theatrical feature began to form. Continue reading “The Crank: ‘Let It Be’ Program Notes (4/4/13 Screening)” »