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Peter Jackson defends lengthy runtime of ‘The Beatles: Get Back’

He worried that any leftover footage "might go back in the vault for another 50 years"

By Tom Skinner

The Beatles perform their Get Back video
The Beatles (Picture: Press).

Peter Jackson has defended the lengthy runtime of his new Beatles documentary, ‘The Beatles: Get Back’.

The film captures the writing and recording of the Fab Four’s 1970 album ‘Let It Be’. It was put together using almost 60 hours of video footage and 150 hours of audio that was left over from Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s film of the same, which also came out back in ’70.

Arriving on Disney+ last week (November 25), ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ is comprised of three parts – ranging between two-hours-and-18-minutes to almost three hours in length (468 minutes in total).

During a new interview with NME, Jackson said he was hesitant to leave any content out of the final edit, saying it could have otherwise taken “another 50 years” to unearth.

“I’d like to say that I didn’t really leave out anything that I thought was important,” the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ filmmaker explained, “which is why the duration has crept up to what it is today.

“I felt acutely – and this is the Beatles fan part of me kicking in – anything I don’t include in this movie might go back in the vault for another 50 years. I was seeing and hearing these amazing moments. I thought: ‘God, people have got to see this. This is great. They have to see this.’”

Jackson continued: “One of the legendary Beatles things is the full length ‘Dig It’. On the ‘Let It Be’ album there’s only 40, 50 seconds of ‘Dig It’, which was like an improvised song that they do. The Beatles fans all know that the original has been on bootleg as well.

“We trimmed it to get it down to four minutes or something because the original is 12 or 13 minutes long… So you get a lot more than you do on the ‘Let It Be’ album.”

‘The Beatles: Get Back’ is available to stream now on Disney+.

As reported previously, a secretly recorded conversation from the doc between John Lennon and Paul McCartney reveals the former’s “only regret” about his time with The Beatles.

Elsewhere, Peter Jackson talked about The Beatles’ failed attempt to film an adaptation of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. “What I understand is that Denis O’Dell, who was [the band’s] Apple film producer, who produced ‘The Magic Christian’, had the idea of doing ‘Lord Of The Rings’,” he explained.

“Ultimately, they couldn’t get the rights from Tolkien, because he didn’t like the idea of a pop group doing his story. So it got nixed by him. They tried to do it. There’s no doubt about it. For a moment in time, they were seriously contemplating doing that at the beginning of 1968.”

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have paid tribute to George Harrison on the 20th anniversary of his death. Harrison died aged 58 on November 29, 2001.