Peter Jackson making new documentary of Beatles' 'Let It Be'


NEW YORK (AP) — The Beatles' farewell documentary "Let It Be" is getting an encore, and a reinvention.

"Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson announced Wednesday that he is making a new film out of some 55 hours of footage – shot in January 1969 – that has never been seen by the public.

The original movie, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, came out soon after the Beatles broke up in 1970 and has long been viewed as a chronicle of the band members growing apart. In a Rolling Stone interview given months after the film's release, John Lennon recalled the making of "Let It Be" as a miserable experience, "set-up by Paul (McCartney) for Paul.

"That is one of the main reasons the Beatles ended. I can't speak for George, but I pretty damn well know we got fed up of being side-men for Paul," he said.

But Jackson says the additional footage tells a very different story.

"It's simply an amazing historical treasure-trove," he said. "Sure, there's moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with."

For Jackson, the Beatles movie marks another turn to documentaries after his recent "They Shall Not Grow Old," a film that brings World War I to life after the director restored heavily-damaged, grainy footage, transferred it into 3D and even used expert lip readers to restore lost dialogue.

He is working on "Let It Be" with the cooperation of McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. The new project was announced on the 50th anniversary of one of the highlights of "Let It Be," the Beatles' spirited performance on the roof of Apple Records in London.

No release date has been set. A remastered version of the original film, which won an Oscar for best original score, also is planned.

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