John Lennon has been gone almost thirty years now. As one of the key figures in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and of music itself, the desire to learn more about his life and music continues.
MVD Visual has just released the DVD John Lennon: Rare and Unseen. It does not contain any music or performances, but rather presents the life of John Lennon through resurrected footage and various interviews. The result is not a complete biography of his life, but it does cover a number of the high points. Its real value is filling in a lot of the gaps and missing pieces.
It also contains a number of long lost treats. There is the famous David Frost interview with Lennon and Yoko Ono which has never been released on a DVD. The Man Of The Decade was aired once during 1969 and then disappeared into the networks archives. His appearance on Weekend World was thought erased and never seen outside of the U.K. Interviews with Phil Collins, Len Goodman, and Tony Barrow help to connect the segments.
My only regret is these programs are not run in their entirety, but rather are presented in sections. Also some of the interviews are not long enough. Case in point is an interview with Colin Hanton who was a member of The Quarrymen. His parting from the group may not have been nice, but he could have proven a treasure trove of information.
One of my favorite segments was the four Beatles with comedian Ken Dodd. It all seemed so casual and relaxed. Lennon may have been a lot of things, but he was rarely relaxed.
The section concerning his peace and anti-war activism may seem dated and a little quaint, but at the time he was a powerful voice and presence in the anti-war movement.
It all reinforces my opinion that John Lennon was a tough person to completely understand. Many times he refused to be pinned down and his complex personality made it difficult to interpret him or his true views.
Rare and Unseen is one of those DVD’s which may not need to be viewed more than a few times. It is, however, interesting and fans of The Beatles and particularly of John Lennon will find this release a valuable addition to their collection.