The Beatles Let It Be Film - Timeline of film scenes?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by dewey02, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Far North
    While I've watched Let It Be many times over the years, I guess I never before wondered about the actual order that the film presents performances and recordings. The film is supposed to be somewhat of a documentary, but it clearly doesn't run in any specific chronological timeframe or even really show progression or development of songs from first run through to the end. Of course the ending of the film generally shows the best quality performances (but not always).

    I've searched this forum and googled around looking for a key that identifies the date or order of the scenes presented in the released film, but I couldn't find one. Has anyone ever done this analysis? I would guess that maybe Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt (both members of this forum and authors of DDSI) may have this info embedded in their books or analysis.

    For example, Paul at the piano playing Adagio for Strings kicks off the start of the movie. Did that really happen on the first day. Heck, is the video even the actual image of Paul playing Adagio, or is the sound just dubbed in? Is the galloping version of Two of Us from one of the first days of recording (as the film would imply) or is it from much later in the month? And which scenes actually are matched with the audio recorded at the same time, and which have audio overdubbed from a completely different performance? Is there any footage in the film from the days when George has quit the band and only the other three are present? Has anyone cataloged what identifiable clothing the Beatles were wearing on what day, so we can know what day is represented by which film scene?

    As I viewed the film the most recent time, for some reason all this was rolling around in my head. The editing on this film is just horrible and often out of sync.
     
  2. Vahan

    Vahan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Glendale, CA, USA
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  3. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    It adheres to the time line to the extent that it starts at Twickenham them moves to Apple then up to the Apple roof.
     
  4. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Far North
    Well, yes there is that.
    But it falls apart in the last part of your sentence.
    To Apple, then up to the Apple roof, and then back down to the Apple basement. However, in that instance, I do agree for artistic reasons and an end to the film, ending on the roof was the right way to close the movie, even if it is chronologically incorrect.
     
  5. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Yes they swap those last 2 days. I agree with that choice.
     
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  6. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    That choice is supported by the fact that one of the main factors getting the Beatles to go up to the roof was that they thought it would make a good end for the film, even if they did not get hauled off by police as Ringo had hoped.
     
  7. Alert

    Alert Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Great River, NY
    I know this doesn't answer your question but it reminded me of something I've thought about while watching the official "Get Back" video issued by Apple several years ago. That video is comprised of snippets of many different performances of "Get Back" filmed during the "Let it Be" sessions and synchronized with the released recording.

    I know that the actual released performance used for the single and album was recorded on Monday, January 27. Did the cameras capture any (or all) of that particular take? If so, parts of that could've been included in the official "Get Back" video that would've been truly live (similar to the ending of the "Hey Bulldog" video where the run-out section of John and Paul vamping appears to be synced with the actual film of those moments).

    Looking at the official "Get Back" video and wondering whether any of those snippets of film were actually from the date it was recorded made me think exactly what you were thinking -- if we knew what they were wearing 0n the 27th, we'd have a much better idea if any of the clips included might be from the actual performance.

    I don't think it would be difficult to determine what they were wearing each day, I just don't think that anyone's done it -- yet!
     
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  8. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Absolute Elsewhere
    You guess correctly. :) The dates of all the performances in the film appear in the "Post Production" appendix of DDSI. The first thing in the film was the first thing shot (Mal and Kevin setting up), but after that the chronology is very loose at best (or simply out of order if you'd like to be technical).

    To touch briefly on some of your questions:

    "Adagio" was filmed on January 3rd (the second day of shooting). None of the musical performances from the first day made it into the film (only the set up did). Paul was the last to arrive on the first day of shooting (he was often first thereafter).

    The fast "Two of Us" is from January 8th.

    There is occasionally footage "flown in" from other performances where the audio and video don't match at all (there is no footage of John singing "Suzy's Parlour", so the shots of him during that performance are "borrowed" from elsewhere). The image during the "I've Got a Feeling" rehearsal jumps between days (hence George's shirt magically changing). But most of the time what you see and hear are the real deal.

    The only footage in the film taken during George's brief vacation is the Paul/Ringo piano boogie.

    The Twickenham portion of the film looks so choppy and "badly edited", in part, because visual images were generally captured in short bursts (rather than full performances). The idea was to create a "behind the scenes" documentary of the rehearsal, which was likely to run about a half an hour and appear before (possibly directly before) the live broadcast of their "comeback" concert performance. As it was, the director (Michael Lindsay-Hogg) shot way more footage than was "needed", and at one point George Harrison commented that they had accumulated reels and reels of audio and video that would need to be "thrown away". No one thought it would be a terrific idea to film and record every second of the session, although to his credit MLH recognized the historical value of his job, and tried to go above and beyond (trying to hide from Denis O'Dell how much film was being used, filming and recording when the band didn't want him to until he was directly told to stop, bugging a phone, and bugging a flower pot to record a George-less lunch conversation). So I try not to pile on MLH for the shambolic look of the first part of the film - he was working under specific limitations (making a 30 minute TV documentary, not an 80 minute feature film) and had the best of intentions.
     
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  9. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Far North
    Thank you Ray! Just the kind of answers I was looking for. Your knowledge never ceases to amaze.
    You have now motivated me to dig through my boxes to find my ancient copy of "Get Back/Let it Be Disaster" as well as call up the more recent pdf of DDSI (if I can remember my password) and take a look.
     
  10. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forum Resident

    Location:
    Astoria, NY USA
    One of the versions of Doug & Ray's Get Back book (I believe it was the latest incarnation that went back to the original DDSI title) came with a CD, narrated by Doug that was meant to play alongside the Let It Be film, ala Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wizard Of Oz :). While I have the CD, I never actually played it in this fashion. I am wondering if dates of the filming may have been given on the CD.

    This absolutely was done, over a decade ago, by someone I used to correspond with, but lost contact with. Somewhere, I have his notes on all of this and how to ID a date by the wardrobe. If I ever find it, I'll definitely post it here. All in all though, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out - especially if you check out the link given near the top of this thread.
     
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  11. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Absolute Elsewhere
    Kudos to you for buying the limited edition hard-cover version of "The Final Edition" of DDSI. Kudos taken back for never listening to Doug's commentary track! :) And yes, you'll find all the dates for the performances on his commentary, along with lots of other interesting information.

    I created a meticulous "Get Back sessions" wardrobe chart back in the early 90s, but it was for our own use to identify performances. Publishing it would have only been more fodder for the reviewers who already referred to us as "overzealous" or "anal retentive". :) From my brief perusal of the web page linked upthread, it looks to be very well done and a very good resource for anyone interested in diving deeper.
     
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  12. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forum Resident

    Location:
    Astoria, NY USA
    Ahh, such is the fate of kudos... The Ray giveth, and the Ray taketh away! :D

    I will have to give this a watch/listen in the near future! :)
     
  13. Vahan

    Vahan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Glendale, CA, USA
    Also, just like with A Hard Day's Night, it appears parts of the film were shot in 25fps. This is evident when you look at this Piano jam from the PAL print and how the keys match the octaves they're playing.



    Compare that to the NTSC print.

    Paul and Ringo playing piano (subtitulado español) »
     

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