A recent interview with Beatles film archivist Ron Furmanek reveals that Apple Records and EMI have been sitting on fully restored, complete versions of “The Beatles at Shea Stadium” and “Let It Be” that Furmanek worked on during the time of the Anthology series in 1995.
“You can’t beat the original camera negative. Apple has the originals. It doesn’t have any fades. If there’s a fadeout for a commercial, the negative doesn’t have the fadeout,” he says. “Shea Stadium, other than the sound issues, of any rock concert that was ever shot in the ’60s of any group, I think Shea Stadium is the highest quality film. It looks better than ‘Woodstock,’ ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘Monterey Pop.’ It really does. Go look at it in ‘Anthology.” It’s stunning. Put on the headphones and listen to it in ‘Anthology’. You’re going to hear some true stereo there, like ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy and ‘I’m Down’.”
He says the restored “Let It Be” looks equally fantastic.”When I restored it, I sat down with (Neil Aspinall) and Derek (Taylor) up in the screening room where we were editing ‘Anthology’. And they sat and watched the entire film. They were blown away. They couldn’t believe the difference. It’s a fun film to watch after I restored it. It’s lively. It’s crystal clear. There’s no grain. There’s no blow-up. There’s one time Paul says something to George, but other than that, the movie’s a lot of fun.
“It’s not dark, it’s not poor quality like the VHS or laserdisc that was released. It was shot in 16mm Kodachrome and Echtachrome and it’s gorgeous. There’s no problem with it. I remixed the entire second half of the film from the 8 track master multitrack tapes and it is in stereo, starting with the sessions in the studio and the concert on the roof.”
Derek Taylor died in 1997. It’s time to release this stuff.