New to Disney+ in May

Blasts from the past abound on Disney+ in May, with premieres of the latest Doctor Who series (May 11), the restored 1970 Beatles movie Let It Be (May 8) and a documentary about The Beach Boys (May 24).

Also ‘new’, ahead of the latest sequel’s theatrical release, are ’70s duo Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planets of the Apes (May 3).

Let It Be hasn’t been available to view in more than 50 years. Peter Jackson, who masterminded the epic documentary series The Beatles: Get Back, was behind the movie’s “meticulous restoration” from the original 16mm negative.

It included remastering the sound using the same MAL de-mix technology that was applied to Get Back. Reads the blurb:

Let It Be contains footage not featured in the Get Back docuseries, bringing viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps’ London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write and record their Grammy Award-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group.

Says director Michael Lindsay-Hogg: “Let It Be was ready to go in October/November 1969, but it didn’t come out until April 1970. One month before its release, The Beatles officially broke up.

“And so the people went to see Let It Be with sadness in their hearts, thinking, ‘I’ll never see The Beatles together again. I will never have that joy again,’ and it very much darkened the perception of the film.

“But, in fact, how often do you get to see artists of this stature working together to make what they hear in their heads into songs?

“And then you get to the roof, and you see their excitement, camaraderie, and sheer joy in playing together again as a group and know, as we do now, that it was the final time, and we view it with the full understanding of who they were and still are and a little poignancy.

“I was knocked out by what Peter was able to do with Get Back, using all the footage I’d shot 50 years previously.”

Jackson says he always thought Let It Be’s restoration was needed to complete the Get Back story:

Over three parts, we showed Michael and The Beatles filming a groundbreaking new documentary, and Let It Be is that documentary – the movie they released in 1970. I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades.

Also available to view here for the first time are S1-3 of the Forest Whitaker drama series, Godfather of Harlem, a 2019 TV prequel to the 2007 movie American Gangster.

“As sharply dressed as it is smartly written, Godfather of Harlem walks familiar blocks to its own beat and makes a strong first impression,” was the Rotten Tomatoes consensus.

Other May highlights include costume drama whodunit Shardlake (May 1), Star Wars spin-off Tales of the Empire (May 4), S3 of FX’s Welcome to Wrexham (May 3), S2 of Monsters at Work (May 5), S5 of The Kardashians (May 23) and Ron Howard’s movie-length documentary, Jim Henson Idea Man (May 31).

Also new are:

May 3

May 4

  • How Not to Draw S1-2

May 10

May 14

May 15

May 17

  • Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story

May 22

  • Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of X-Men ’97
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life S2 (new episodes)
  • Pauline S1
  • Mickey Mouse Funhouse S3.
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