John Lennon: Rare and Unseen

John Lennon
Rare and Unseen
(MVD)

As mentioned in a previous review on The Rolling Stones, the “Rare and Unseen” series is a hit-and-miss compilation of interviews and b-roll footage of the subject at hand. The Stones DVD was a complete miss. The latest offering on John Lennon is definitely a hit.

The folks at MVD Visual have done a fine job of actually finding rare and (mostly) unseen footage of Lennon from throughout his career and short life. The back cover bills the presentation accurately as “It’s a portrait, but on film.” One comes away from the viewing with a better understanding of the man who wrote some of the most perfect and enduring songs of the last five decades.

Those who idolize Lennon as the leader or co-leader of what many refer to as the greatest band in the world may be shocked to realize Lennon was actually an incredibly self-conscious and private person who hid in plain view within his “rock star” persona. It’s apparent through the interview segments that he had no master plan, was pretty much only interested in creating art in many different forms and occasionally stumbled with his fame.

Over a short 75-minutes a lot of information is thrown at the viewer; as the interviews bounce back and forth across the years and different eras within The Beatles and his solo career. Segments are supported with modern day interviews with Genesis’ Phil Collins, Beatles press agent Tony Barrow and The Quarrymen’s Len Goodman.

The DVD also frames a new perspective for many fans which indicts McCartney as being almost Machiavellian in his approach to positioning The Beatles in the media and with their fans.