Get Back: Peter Jackson a couple of years back did some work to take World War One film coverage and colour it, add sound and make it more relatable to today’s audiences and the result was the excellent They Shall Not Grow Old. He has turned his sites from New Zealand now into unseen raw coverage of a proposed documentary film for the Beatles in their writing new songs for what became the Let It Be album and the famous outdoor office roof performance from January 30th, 1969. I have not finished the series, three episodes and the first one is over two hours long. It chronicles the days leading up to the performance in early January 1969. I am forewarning viewers that this is a sizeable investment in time, watching the four members of the Beatles interact during rehearsals and early days. A couple of early observations: Paul seems to be the driving force to try and get the material completed, and come up with new ideas. His off-the-top guitar playing with rambling lyrics in a matter of minutes to ultimately begin the song Get Back is quite simply miraculous. I marvel at the creative process, and this is an excellent example of someone creating on the spot. I think generally Paul and John would work together on their own and bounce ideas off each other in their earlier days. Having a camera there to record everything is a little forced, but over time the guys tend to just be themselves. Some of the dialogue can be hard to hear and understand with the accents. Still it is compelling. I cannot see this early what Yoko Ono does on any level. She occupies a chair near John, but says nothing, sometimes reads or looks like she does some craft. She may have been emotional support for John, but creatively in this setting she does absolutely nothing. George is frustrated by this process, and you can see what eventually builds up to his departure from the band during this time. He is creative himself and talks about songs that he has developed but they all seem to be, in his words, much quieter songs. He seems angrier with Paul and he gripes about any show, and seems uneasy in his role as third wheel with Paul and John. He will “just play whatever [Paul] wants [him] to play”. Then Ringo is adding nothing creatively but has the daunting tasks of keeping up, and adding rhythm and beat for the songs being developed. John early on is fixated on working through the song “Don’t Let Me Down” and there is time spent trying to finalize that. For Beatles fans, this is a must see. For more casual fans, you can watch a creative process taking place in two weeks for writing an album that has iconic songs like Two of Us, Across the Universe, I’ve Got a Feeling, Long and Winding Road and of course Let It Be. Utterly remarkable.
Succession and The Crown: Discussion about how females are treated: I was re-watching the end of Season 3 of The Crown with the episode about the disintegration of Princess Margaret’s marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones but also the latest episode in Succession and the treatment of the women in these series. Margaret as the younger sister of Monarch Queen Elizabeth had plenty in her life impacted by the perceptions of how it will impact the Family and the Crown. She was unable to marry her true love Peter Townsend, who was divorced (because his wife cheated on him) because of the whole abdication of the Crown by Edward VIII. She has a tumultuous marriage with Mr Armstrong-Jones who openly is having an affair before the whole world, but no one seems to care about that, including her sister although she did encourage a reconciliation. But then Armstrong-Jones amazingly attacks Margaret for an affair with a younger man who has finally brought some happiness to her world. It seems her Family and her position will just not allow her to be happy. She wanted a meaningful role, in the same way that Phillip did and it just doesn’t come. The Queen is a strong character and develops into a force politically which many acknowledge in this third season, like Edward VIII himself when he was about to die. But Margaret is left to the sidelines to deal with her unfortunate station. In the latest episode in Season 3 of Succession, at Kendall’s birthday party, we see how Shiv is being turned aside in the family as Roman becomes more of the relied upon sibling to execute Dad’s wishes. Roman begins showing his true colours as he gains in confidence while Shiv becomes increasingly frustrated with her seemingly back seat role. Her husband, Tom, who has been fixated on his pre-determined path is given really good news, but he remains unable of moving forward. That marriage is an interesting one, and Shiv has seen her position relegated to secondary status. This season is fairly slow moving but it it brilliantly written with tremendous dialogue. Part of me thinks that the underlying premise is to explore how it seems first generations of wealthy families generate the money, and then the later generations fritter it all away. The story is not unlike the Vanderbilt story with Anderson Cooper just recently reviewed. But it is these female characters that in their time, Margaret was a completely different generation, while Shiv is more or less today, reveals that not much has changed for them and how they are viewed. Both women are extremely capable. Yet when the chips are down, it seems others are relied upon more directly. To be fair about Shiv, I don’t think that she did herself any favours by the events at the Shareholders Meeting. But ultimately we will see how it plays out. There are plenty of good things to be watching these days.