Imagine: John Lennon (1988)

R | 105 mins | Documentary | 7 October 1988

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HISTORY

The documentary begins with a title card reading: “Narrated by John Lennon from over 100 hours of interviews.” The legendary singer-songwriter, and founding member of the British rock ‘n’ roll band, the Beatles, was murdered on 8 Dec 1980.
       The opening and final sequences of the film contain footage from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s extended home movie Imagine (1971, see entry), which was shot during the production of Lennon’s second solo record album of the same name at Tittenhurst Estate, the couple’s residence in Ascot, England. Clips from Imagine appear intermittently throughout the film, as do scenes from several Beatles’ movies, including A Hard Day’s Night (1964, see entry), Help (1965, see entry), and Yellow Submarine (1968, see entry).
       As noted in various contemporary sources, including the documentary’s 27 Sep 1988 HR review and a 13 Oct 1988 HR article, Imagine: John Lennon was a compilation derived from 240 hours of archival footage and 100 hours of audio recordings from the Lennon estate. According to a 7 Oct 1988 Kansas City Star article, Yoko Ono contacted producer David L. Wolper in 1986, hoping the documentary filmmaker would help compile assets from the Lennon archive to make a comprehensive biography about her late husband. Wolper agreed on condition that he be granted complete access to the collection, and artistic license to use the material as he wished. Wolper claimed there was “more personal film on John Lennon than on any other figure of this century.”
       Referring to the picture by its working title, an 18 ... More Less

The documentary begins with a title card reading: “Narrated by John Lennon from over 100 hours of interviews.” The legendary singer-songwriter, and founding member of the British rock ‘n’ roll band, the Beatles, was murdered on 8 Dec 1980.
       The opening and final sequences of the film contain footage from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s extended home movie Imagine (1971, see entry), which was shot during the production of Lennon’s second solo record album of the same name at Tittenhurst Estate, the couple’s residence in Ascot, England. Clips from Imagine appear intermittently throughout the film, as do scenes from several Beatles’ movies, including A Hard Day’s Night (1964, see entry), Help (1965, see entry), and Yellow Submarine (1968, see entry).
       As noted in various contemporary sources, including the documentary’s 27 Sep 1988 HR review and a 13 Oct 1988 HR article, Imagine: John Lennon was a compilation derived from 240 hours of archival footage and 100 hours of audio recordings from the Lennon estate. According to a 7 Oct 1988 Kansas City Star article, Yoko Ono contacted producer David L. Wolper in 1986, hoping the documentary filmmaker would help compile assets from the Lennon archive to make a comprehensive biography about her late husband. Wolper agreed on condition that he be granted complete access to the collection, and artistic license to use the material as he wished. Wolper claimed there was “more personal film on John Lennon than on any other figure of this century.”
       Referring to the picture by its working title, an 18 Mar 1987 Var production chart reported that In My Life: The Story of John Lennon began two days earlier, on 16 Mar 1987, in London, England. Filming also took place in Los Angeles, CA, according to a 9 Feb 1988 Var production chart. Original footage for the documentary consisted of interviews with: Yoko Ono; Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia Lennon; John Lennon’s two sons, Julian and Sean; music producer George Martin; publicist Elliot Mintz; and Lennon’s former girl friend, May Pang. Andrew Solt told the publication that the film included music that had never been heard before. Var listed musicians Elton John and David Bowie as cast members, but they do not appear in the picture. A 6 Apr 1988 Var news item announced that the title had been changed to Imagine – John Lennon, and the 13 Oct 1988 HR cited a budget of $7 million.
       A rough cut of the documentary was completed by 3 Mar 1988, when the surviving members of the Beatles – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr – saw a “first look” of the picture in London, as stated in a Var brief published that day. According to the film’s 6 Oct 1988 LAT review, the three musicians declined invitations to be interviewed for the production.
       On 26 Sep 1988, LAT announced that John Lennon was being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that week to promote the 7 Oct 1988 release of Imagine: John Lennon. The documentary was received with generally positive reviews.
       End credits begin with the following: “The producers wish to thank all the filmmakers whose work is represented in this motion picture.” In addition, end credits state: “The producers gratefully acknowledge: Alan Aldridge, Neil Aspinall, Claudia Falkenburg, David Geffen, Debbie Gendler, Sam Havadtoy, Jill Hawkins, Robert Hilburn, Mark Lewisohn, Harry Nilsson, Steven Peeples, Rupert Perry, Tony Secunda, David Shiff, Dave Sholin, Peter Shukat, Sharon Swab, Susan Walker, Jann Wenner, Gloria Wolper,” and, “Footage provided by: ABC News; Apple Corps., Ltd.; BBC Enterprises; BBC Sound Archives; British Movietonews Limited; Canadian Broadcast Corp.; CBS News; Cinesound Movietone; CTV; The Dick Cavett Show; Group W Productions; ITC Entertainment Ltd.; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Las Vegas News Bureau; Lenono Archives; Movietime, Inc.; National Broadcasting Company; Sherman Grinberg Library; Stardust Productions; UCLA Film and Television Archive; United Stations Radio Networks; Visnews Library; Weintraub Entertainment Group; Worldwide Television News.” The film features, “Photographs provided by: Michael Cooper, Hunter Davies, Robert Freeman, Fly Communications, Paul Goresh, Bob Gruen/Star File, Jim M. Hughes, Leslie Kearney, Astrid Kirchherr, Cyril Maitland, Richard Matthews, Michael McCartney, David Nutter, Photosource/The Keystone Collection, Lilo Raymond, Geoff Rhind; Charles Roberts, Kishin Shinoyama, Wide World Photos, Jürgen Vollmer, Tom Zimberoff.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1988
p. 22, 30.
Daily Variety
26 Sep 1988
p. 3, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1988.
---
Kansas City Star
7 Oct 1988
Section D, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Oct 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
7 Oct 1988
p. 7.
Variety
9 Feb 1988.
---
Variety
18 Mar 1987.
---
Variety
3 Mar 1988.
---
Variety
6 Apr 1988.
---
Variety
28 Sep 1988
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. Presents
A David L. Wolper Production
An Andrew Solt Film
David Wolper Productions
in association with Andrew Solt Productions
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Still photo seq
Aerial photog
Aerial photog
Cam op
Stedicam op
Video asst
Asst cam
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
Still photg
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Addl ed
Post prod supv
Ed consultant
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward consultant
MUSIC
Beatles songs remixed by
John Lennon songs remixed by
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd coord
Sd mixer
Boom man
Sd mixer, U.K.
Post prod sd facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt work
Opt work
Opt work
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod admin
Prod exec
Consultant
Addl interviews by
Clearance admin
Research coord
Lennon archive coord
Los Angeles, Researchers
Los Angeles, Researchers
Los Angeles, Researchers
Los Angeles, Researchers
New York, Researchers
New York, Researchers
New York, Researchers
San Francisco, Researchers
Washington, D.C., Researchers
Australia, Researchers
France, Researchers
France, Researchers
Great Britain, Researchers
Holland, Researchers
Japan, Researchers
Photo research
Photo research
Photo research
Asst to Mr. Wolper
Asst to Mr. Solt
Graphic artist
Post prod consultant
New York Unit prod supv
Project coord
Transportation
Transportation
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Library coord
Library coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Narrated by
from over 100 hours of interviews
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
Musical compositions in the picture include: “A Day In The Life,” “Across The Universe,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Ballad Of John & Yoko,” “Come Together,” “Don’t Let Me Go Down,” “Give Peace A Chance,” “Help,” “In My Life,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Julia,” "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," "Nowhere Man," “Revolution,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., under license from ATV Music (Maclen)
“God,” “Hold On John,” “How?,” “How Do You Sleep?,” “Mother,” written by John Lennon, published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., under license from ATV Music (Maclen)
“Beautiful Boy,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Imagine,” “Jealous Guy,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Oh Yoko,” “Woman,” written by John Lennon, published by Lenono Music, administered by SBK Blackwood Music Inc.
+
SONGS
Musical compositions in the picture include: “A Day In The Life,” “Across The Universe,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Ballad Of John & Yoko,” “Come Together,” “Don’t Let Me Go Down,” “Give Peace A Chance,” “Help,” “In My Life,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Julia,” "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," "Nowhere Man," “Revolution,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., under license from ATV Music (Maclen)
“God,” “Hold On John,” “How?,” “How Do You Sleep?,” “Mother,” written by John Lennon, published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., under license from ATV Music (Maclen)
“Beautiful Boy,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Imagine,” “Jealous Guy,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Oh Yoko,” “Woman,” written by John Lennon, published by Lenono Music, administered by SBK Blackwood Music Inc.
“From Me To You,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, published by Gil Music Corp.
“Love Me Do,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, published by Beechwood Music Corp.
“Real Love,” written by John Lennon, published by Lenono Music
“Two Virgins,” written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, published by Lenono Music and Ono Music, administered by SBK Blackwood Music Inc.
“Be Bop A Lula,” written by Gene Vincent and Sheriff Tex Davis, published by Lowery Music Co., Inc.
“Rip It Up,” written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco, published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., under license from ATV Music (Venice)
“Stand By Me,” written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, published by Trio Music Co., Inc./Unichappell & Co./A.D.T. Enterprises, Inc.
“Some Other Guy,” written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Richard Barrett, published by Leiber-Stoller Songs, Inc./Trio Music Co., Inc., administered by Warner/Chappell Music Inc.
“Twist And Shout,” written by Bill Medley and Bert Russell, published by Screen Gems/EMI Music Inc. and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
In My Life: The Story of John Lennon
Imagine – John Lennon
Release Date:
7 October 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 October 1988
Production Date:
began 16 March 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1988
Copyright Number:
PA388991
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo
Color
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1:1.85
Duration(in mins):
105
Length(in feet):
9,532
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Archival footage, interviews, and clips from the 1971 film, Imagine, are intercut with concert and studio performances to portray the life story of musician John Lennon, who was best known as a founding member of the British rock ‘n’ roll band, the Beatles. ... +


Archival footage, interviews, and clips from the 1971 film, Imagine, are intercut with concert and studio performances to portray the life story of musician John Lennon, who was best known as a founding member of the British rock ‘n’ roll band, the Beatles. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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