Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Off The Shelf: The U.S. Versus John Lennon

John Lennon's anti-war community building activities make him an "enemy of the state" from 1968-1975.

David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, two directors who've made their careers by presenting the lives of entertainers like Elvis, Bette Midler, Sinatra and the Beach Boys, made a definitive documentary on the former Beatle that premiered at the Toronto Film Fest in 2006. This A+ documentary features interviews with those closest to Lennon and exhaustive research including reviewing John Lennon's F.B.I. file prepared by J. Edgar Hoover and sent to the Office Of The President Of The United States Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixson during the height of the Viet Nam War.

The U.S. vs John Lennon searches Lennon's sphere of influence by interviewing a startling amount of legendary and historical figures, lawyers, musicians and activists. This list features: Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, anchorman Walter Cronkite, John Lennon's immigration lawyer Leon Wildes, reporter Geraldo Rivera, Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy, excerpts from benefit concerts with activists Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, with surprisingly warm-hearted narration from Yoko Ono and many more.

This out-standing documentary takes the many political struggles that Lennon chose to fight and follows the Nixon administration's covert efforts to silence the anti-war community that he and his followers had helped create and foster into political reality (26th Amendment, Freeing John Sinclair). Leaf and Scheinfeld present the whole of Lennon's trumped up deportation battle based on a marijuana conviction in England during his time as a Beatle.

Bob Dylan's letter sent during in 1972 to The U.S. Immigration And Naturalization Service stated: "John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country’s so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country’s got plenty of room and space."

After three years of hearings, Lennon won his American citizenship by saying "Time wounds all heels". The documentary ends with his assassination in front of his building, The Dakota, at One West 72nd Street in New York City on December 10th of 1980.


No comments: