George Harrison didn’t look back on his days a Beatle with complete fondness. George hardly looked back on those days at all, actually. He was proud of most of The Beatles’ work, but that was the past. George primarily lived in the here and the now, and never understood the people who were still caught in the craze of The Beatles years after they disbanded.
George always had a hard time being “Beatle George.” However, the end of his time as a Beatle was the worse for him. To make matters worse, George’s struggle to stay in the band was caught all on camera. The Beatles were filming Let It Be. So, the prying cameras paired with George’s growing tensions with his bandmates grew to a boiling point, and George quit.
No wonder George said the film aggravated him to the point where he could hardly watch it. It was like watching a car crash. But what would he say about Peter Jackson’s upcoming documentary, The Beatles: Get Back?
George Harrison wouldn’t enjoy Peter Jackson’s ‘The Beatles: Get Back’
In a rare 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, George said watching The Beatles’ Let It Be, which he called Let It Rot, aggravated him to the point where he avoided it as much as possible.
“That, you know, I didn’t like,” George explained about Let It Be. “There’s scenes in it-on the roof, that was quite good, and there’s bits and pieces that’s OK, but most of it just makes me so aggravated that I can’t watch it. Because it was a particularly bad experience that we were having at that time, and it’s bad enough when you’re having it, let alone having it filmed and recorded so that you get to watch it for the rest of your life. I don’t like it.”
George agreed with the interviewer that watching the film was like watching a car accident. “It’s terrible,” he concluded.
So no matter what kind of picture Jackson’s upcoming film paints, we can bet that George wouldn’t have liked it, and definitely would have been vocal about it. Which is conflicting considering George’s son, Dhani, enjoyed it very much.
Dhani Harrison says there’s nothing in the documentary that disrespects his father
If George were alive, he’d likely hate the upcoming film. However, according to his son Dhani, who’s safeguarded George’s legacy all these years, there’s nothing wrong with Get Back. In fact, when Jackson invited Dhani for a personal screening of the film and asked him to give notes on it, Dhani couldn’t think of anything to say.
“Peter is a good friend, he’s a really great guy,” Dhani told Esquire. “I was asked to give notes, and I ended up not giving any because he’s Peter Jackson! He’s going to make it what he’s going to make it.
“I went out to New Zealand, and the night that I got there was the night the lockdown went into effect—I nearly ended up getting stuck with Peter Jackson and the hobbits. But I’m so glad I managed to get there. I had one night viewing, he basically made a reel for me with all of my dad’s footage and I could see if there was anything I didn’t want in, anything I thought was bad or not tasteful, and it was all just beautiful. He was very complimentary about my dad’s behavior in all of the reels.”
However, it is comforting knowing that Dhani, who knew George best, approves of the documentary. But that doesn’t mean George would be OK with it. Maybe Dhani enjoyed it because it finally shows what really happened. It could shine a light on the truth and dispel all the myths formed over the decades.
George called the making and filming of ‘Let It Be’ The Beatles’ ‘winter of discontent’
So far, we’ve seen a couple of clips of The Beatles: Get Back. In most of them, you can see George’s distaste. One clip shows his surprise at learning they’d be recording the band’s conversations as well as their rehearsals. Another shows a bored George rehearsing on “I’ve Got a Feeling.” When the band stops, George quips, “Is that one called, ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’?” Then, we hear him suggesting the band forget about their live show altogether.
George later called the sessions the band’s “winter of discontent.” Yet, there there are some Beatles fans who have struggled with the fact that the making of Let It Be was nothing but tense. According to the New York Times, some believe Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s original film “was selectively edited for maximum dreariness, perhaps to retroactively explain the breakup… while evidence from bootlegged tapes suggests a mixture of pleasure and frustration familiar to any musician struggling through Take 24 on a deadline.”
The Times also writes that The Beatles’ history is largely unsettled, and Jackson’s documentary could become the final say. So, maybe that’s what Dhani liked about it. If it is true, perhaps George would have enjoyed it, even minimally, if it settled the score once and for all.
We’ll have to wait to find out what Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back sheds light on when the three-part documentary premieres on Disney+ on Nov. 25, 26, and 27.
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