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What's New in the Forum - The Beatles Documentary 'The Return': The Legendary Band at a Crossroads - Culture

What’s New in the Forum – The Beatles Documentary ‘The Return’: The Legendary Band at a Crossroads – Culture


A three-part documentary by Peter Jackson demystifies the Beatles – with amusing platitudes and understated statements.

In January 1969, the Beatles were at a crossroads. Paul McCartney, who in earlier years took over as de facto leader of the band from John Lennon, is trying to reignite enthusiasm for the band among his bandmates with an ambitious project.

In three weeks there will be enough new songs for a live album. The rehearsals and performances are accompanied by a camera crew – with the aim of filming a special TV show.

What follows from day one of recordings, which will be called plugging in the forceps, is going to be a nice understatement.


Rare January 1969 photo: The Beatles focus on work.

© 2020 Apple Corps Ltd.

annoying questions

Paul McCartney suffers from his reputation as a band dictator, John Lennon doesn’t seem too interested in the frivolities of being a band (rehearsals, songwriting, etc.), Ringo Starr will be on Peter Sellers comedy in February anyway. Magic Christian “is expected, and George Harrison feels underappreciated.

All this leads to an incident that confronts the four Liverpool players with uncomfortable questions: Why was it fun to be part of the biggest squad in the world? Or: How far, if any, should the Beatles go?


It is not easy to get acquainted here with the secret stars of the series: complete ashtrays.

© 2020 Apple Corps Ltd.

60 hours of film material, of which only 80 minutes were shown to the public, was available to director Peter Jackson for “The Beatles: Get Back”. He made three parts of this with a total length of about eight hours, which can now be seen as streamed on Disney Plus.

A running time that competes not only with the entire Beatles, but also with the New Zealand “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Problems that every student team knows

To say every minute of it is necessary would be a lie. But precisely because Jackson spends so much time showing off the unproductive phases of the undertaking that has already taken place, he demystifies the Fab Four in an interesting way.


Legendary: The band’s last public appearance was on January 30, 1969

© 2020 Apple Corps Ltd.

It was assumed that the legendary Beatles also had to struggle with petty problems that every school band knows. But half a century of critical reverence for music has ensured that this is exactly what people tend to ignore.

How McCartney makes Lennon desperate by canceling Let It Be every time before he uses the latter for the first time. Or when Ringo Starr stares dreamily into space, when his mates talk long about guitar arrangements, you quickly think:

The Beatles were just a band – perhaps more legendary than anyone else, but also just a band.

Disney+ will start streaming on November 25, 2021