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Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 01/25/2011
John Lennon famously began his life in working-class Liverpool. Just as famously, he lost it in every-class New York. This edition of American Masters explores the nine years he spent in the United States, counting the recording of 1973's Mind Games in Los Angeles during his infamous lost weekend. Director Michael Epstein compiles his words with new interviews, photographs, home movies, and performances (including studio outtakes). In 1971, Lennon and Yoko Ono sought to escape the hostility of the London press and reinvent themselves, so they moved to the Big Apple, where they hobnobbed with Andy Warhol and Abbie Hoffman. Former senator Tom Hayden talks about their efforts on behalf of the antiwar movement and how that caught the attention of the Feds who tried to deport them, while musicians recall the making of albums like 1974's Walls and Bridges. Ono remembers Lennon's househusband days with fondness, even if she still seems hurt when describing the night he slept with another woman (Lennon nemesis Richard Nixon had just won the presidency). In the end, he found the happiness he sought, even if it didn't last. Other speakers include photographer Bob Gruen, talk show host Dick Cavett, Double Fantasy producer Jack Douglas, and Elton John, Lennon's duet partner on the chart-topper "Whatever Gets You Through the Night." LennoNYC, which takes an even-handed look at an enormously talented human being, duplicates events that appear in other films, like Imagine, but there's enough vital material here to please fans old and new alike. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to the DVD edition.