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Why Beatles’ Let It Be film had 50-year delay after theft | Films | Entertainment

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The Beatles’ 1970 flick Let It Be has been remastered and released for the first time in 54 years, but the long wait wasn’t intentional. 

Speaking to the audience at a London screening of the Disney+ flick, Jonathan Clyde shed light on the staggering delay revealing the “Let It Be problem”.

He suggested that there were a few causes behind the 54-year wait but revealed the main reason “no one wanted to tackle” the remastering was a frustrating crime. 

Between 450 and 500 15-minute-long reels of sound recordings for the documentary had been “filched” from the Apple Corps studio shortly after the movie’s initial release in 1970. 

The Apple Corps director explained that without those master recordings there “wasn’t much we could do”.

READ MORE: Let It Be movie reviews: The Beatles’ remastered documentary ‘joyful’ and ‘staggering’

He continued: “Whoever filched them was now licensing them to bootleggers who were then bootlegging vinyl and CD boxsets. We thought well maybe we could take the CDs and try and sync the rushes but that didn’t really work.”

After all but giving up hope at ever remastering the legendary slice-of-life documentary, the studio got a glimmer of hope around 2004. 

Jonathan recalled: “We got a call from the police saying; ‘Think we got some property of yours found in a warehouse in Holland’. 

With the biggest issue behind the production now solved, the team wadded through a few smaller obstacles and began remastering Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s work. 

The BAFTA winner added that even if fans had seen Let It Be in cinemas 54 years ago, the documentary that released on Disney+ yesterday is nearly a completely different film entirely.

He explained: “When we did the transcripts for the new version of Let It Be you’re hearing so much more. More dialogues, snippets of music. Of course the visual restoration is also extraordinary.”

The documentary was filmed in 1969 when director Michael Lindsay-Hogg took his cameras into the rehearsal and songwriting sessions of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. 

Over the course of roughly 20 days, cameras and microphones followed The Beatles from a Twickenham studio to Apple Corps’ basement and finally their iconic rooftop performance as they created what would become their final studio album.

Let It Be is available to stream on Disney+.

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