An I'm-being-naughty smile comes over John Lennon's face as he hammers away at the piano and sings his anti-Paul McCartney diatribe, How Do You Sleep, with his Beatle pal George Harrison watching, a sign that he still enjoyed being the mischievous one during the Imagine sessions in 1971.
Lennon is at his most fascinating in one-on-one situations in this documentary, a packaging of Making of 'Imagine' with some additional footage to turn it into an hour-long show and home video.
The release was tied to the re-release of Lennon's landmark solo disc, Imagine, for which he laid down basic tracks in a mansion in the English countryside. Joined by producer Phil Spector, bassist Klaus Voorman, pianist Nicky Hopkins, Harrison and handful of hangers-on, the video is an interesting travelogue through the making of one of rock's flawed masterpieces.
Performing the songs in their raw form, it's interesting for fans of the album to hear the directions that weren't taken, from the drumming on the title track to the reggae groove in I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier. On the other hand, it's interesting how fully-formed Gimme Some Truth was when it was only on paper.
The video is a glorified home movie and does not exceed that quality. But shots of Lennon playing basketball with Miles Davis are priceless, no matter what the format.
Filmed in England. Executive producer, Yoko Ono; producer, Andrew Solt; co-producer, Leslie Tong. Director, Solt; Making of Imagine directors, John Lennon, Yoko Ono; party footage, Jonas Mekas; editor, Leslie Tong; post-production audio, Kent Gibson.