MUSICIAN. HUMANITARIAN. NATIONAL THREAT.
It wasn’t until John Lennon started hanging out with people like Black Panther leader Bobby Seale that the U.S. authorities seriously viewed him as an enemy. That’s what we learn in this documentary chronicling the deteriorating relationship between the Nixon Administration and the charismatic ex-Beatle. The filmmakers take a long time explaining the mood in the nation at the time and how creative and talked-about Lennon became in his campaigns against the Vietnam War, but it isn’t until the government gets serious about trying to silence the artist that the documentary turns really interesting. Good interviews (G. Gordon Liddy explaining the views of the Nixon Administration), and Lennon’s inspiring personality is well illustrated.
2006-U.S. 99 min. Color-B/W. Produced, written and directed by John Scheinfeld, David Leaf.
Last word: “I was totally fascinated as was my colleague David Leaf. We did a treatment and for seven years we tried to sell this as a theatrical documentary and got a lot of ‘Who cares?’ That surprised us and then we put it on a shelf for a while. Then it turned out that in a post 9/11, post-Iraq world, people began to see the relevance of a story which, at its heart, had an unpopular war…a president who lied to the country…and that if you protested the government came after you. Does that sound familiar?! Although ours was a story rooted in the past, it had a great many parallels to what was going on in the new Millennium.” (Scheinfeld, Daytrippin’)