Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on June 30th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: 2010
Directors: Alan Byron, Ashley Hall
Cast: The Beatles, Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, Yoko Ono, etc.
DVD released: July 19th, 2010
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: E (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99
Released to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death later this year this new documentary chronicles the changing face of John Lennon, from working class boy made good to superstardom and eventually creative artist and campaigner for world peace. Featuring a wealth of previously unseen archive footage of John Lennon and in-depth contributions and interviews with Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, Yoko Ono and many others.
This was a very interesting watch, primarily due to the narrative drawing from and informing the archive footage rather than talking heads occasionally cutting to random footage which tends to be the norm for most of the mass-produced documentaries flooding the DVD market these days. Beginning with a detailed look at the claustrophobia inherent in superstardom and the overreactions caused by the slightest political comment – “The Beatles are bigger than Jesus” – for example, one which led to a short period of biblical hysteria in southern US states culminating in the public burning of Beatles records. By the half hour mark however we’ve moved on to John’s life with Yoko and beyond, a number of excellent little bits of archive footage shed further light on their relationship as they are interviewed together for various TV shows. Yoko’s role in John’s life is discussed in depth via a number of candid interviews including with Yoko herself as well as with Cynthia Lennon and a Julian Lennon. The documentary takes a turn for the political in it’s final third with John’s ‘Peace’ activism taking over somewhat and focusing on his departure from the UK and his problems getting a US green card until his tragic end at the age of 40.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer looks excellent. Lots of archive footage however which of course varies in quality. Audio track is clean and clear.
Extras include -
Memorial To John – Cynthia Lennon narrates and presents a look at Cavern Walks in Liverpool with the architect that designed it. (3 minutes).
Interview With Director Tony Palmer – The director chats about meeting Lennon at Cambridge and the subsequent relationship that led to the creation of ‘All You Need Is Love: The Story Of Popular Music’. (4 minutes)
Trailer for Here, There & Everywhere – a new Beatles documentary comprised of archive footage from 1963-70 coming soon from Odeon Entertainment.