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The John Tittenhurst/New York 1971 films -- Imagine, Gimme Some Truth and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky
24 November 2018
10.13pm
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Ron Nasty
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After watching the première of John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, I thought a thread about the three different films focused around the Imagine  sessions and the different reflections they offer might be interesting.

The three films in question are Imagine  (1972), Gimme Some Truth : The Making of Imagine  (2000) and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (2018).

It is interesting that each are very different films reflective of their times. You have the experimental original 1972 ahead-of-its-time video album with a couple of songs flown in from Yoko's Fly. Then you get 2000's Gimme Some Truth , concentrating largely on the Tittenhurst sessions and watching John at work with a little commentary along the way. And now we have John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky which looks at the events that created the environment for the creation of the album, with familiar and unfamiliar footage running as a backdrop to the narrative and commentary constructed from new and old interviews.

First thing to say about the latest addition is that it's a great film in my opinion, but while there is much exciting footage from the time I haven't seen before, as already said much is a backdrop to the narrative. Perhaps it bodes well for the DVD/Blu-Ray release, hoping some of the new footage will be included without the interruptions as bonus features.

The clip released on John's official YT channel is a good representation of the film, and the balance between music and commentary:

Some observations: While much of the footage is familiar, as shown with this year's restorations of the earlier two films, the picture and sound are fantastic, and there is enough new footage and much is surprising and delighting me, and much footage seen before is seen from different camera angles and extended. The scene with the lost Vietnam vet ("I figured that if we met I'd know...what I was thinking was true...", "I'm just a guy! ... Are you hungry? Hmm? Let's give him something to eat...") used in 1988's John Lennon : Imagine is extended, seen from different angles. John's patience, understanding, concern, uneasiness that he was somehow responsible, knowing the police want to just arrest the guy, and the way he takes him in is all the more touching, especially given how it all ended for John.

And the picture is so improved compared to its 1988 use.

I enjoyed it a great deal and didn't feel it was just retreading the same ground without anything to add. As said previously, I feel the three films offer three different perspectives on the sessions, each with a value as a document of that year. One the product, the second a fly-on-the-wall, while the third is a retrospective of the life and the times.

Currently on my third viewing...

Love the bit where Julian, talking about the song Imagine , says "It's not religious. It's not political. It's just Humanity, and Life." His voice and inflexions are just so John in those lines... (that's in the above clip).

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10 March 2019
12.24pm
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Ahhh Girl
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John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky will be on A&E tomorrow night for those in the US.

A nice write up that includes this bit

John Lennon wanted to know if his new album was any good.

So he enlisted the help of some friends and journalists, including one Kieron ‘Spud’ Murphy, a freelancer for a music publication called Sounds, to give feedback.

Murphy listened, told Lennon he liked the one song, and said: ‘I think people are still going to be listening to it in 10 years’ time.’

‘He said: “Oh, f*** off, it’s just a rock album.” ’

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20 March 2019
11.41pm
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Elementary Penguin
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This topic deserves more conversation. I watched Above Us Only Sky yesterday and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure if it would be any good considering that I have seen several John Lennon films abut the making of Imagine but it has a lot of footage (some that has already been used and some that I hadn't seen before) and commentary on the songs as well.

I also enjoyed hearing a little bit about Yoko as well. She may not be everyone's cup of tea but I like what she has to say about the song Imagine and it was sad to hear about her upbringing but it was still interesting. 

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21 March 2019
2.18pm
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Any way to watch it in the US without having the A & E channel?

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

1 April 2019
1.26am
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Elementary Penguin
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Expert Textpert said
Any way to watch it in the US without having the A & E channel?

  

Do you find a way to watch it? 

 

It was aired on Australian Television a couple of weeks ago. 

And in the end the lunch you take is equal to the lunch you bake.

1 April 2019
1.41am
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The Hole Got Fixed
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Elementary Penguin said

Expert Textpert said

Any way to watch it in the US without having the A & E channel?

  

Do you find a way to watch it? 

 

It was aired on Australian Television a couple of weeks ago. 

  

Thanks for reminding me. My dad recorded it, I need to get him to give it to me so I can watch it.

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1 April 2019
3.15am
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Timothy
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Ahhh Girl said
John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky will be on A&E tomorrow night for those in the US.

A nice write up that includes this bit

John Lennon wanted to know if his new album was any good.

So he enlisted the help of some friends and journalists, including one Kieron ‘Spud’ Murphy, a freelancer for a music publication called Sounds, to give feedback.

Murphy listened, told Lennon he liked the one song, and said: ‘I think people are still going to be listening to it in 10 years’ time.’

‘He said: “Oh, f*** off, it’s just a rock album.” ’

  

Ha, that’s hilarious, but so true. John did put a lot of effort into Imagine , but even a classic like Imagine starts off as ‘just a song’. We always hope for the best with our work, but never know what’s going to become iconic, especially to the levels of Imagine .

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1 April 2019
3.42am
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Ron Nasty
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8It's like I've always said about The Waste Land, it was the audience that made it the most important post-War poem of the 20th Century, and not T.S. Eliot.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

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1 April 2019
11.49am
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Elementary Penguin said

Expert Textpert said

Any way to watch it in the US without having the A & E channel?

  

Do you find a way to watch it? 

 

It was aired on Australian Television a couple of weeks ago. 

  

No, I haven’t. 

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

2 April 2019
1.21pm
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vonbontee
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That's too bad. 🙁

I've been watching "Sky" in bits and pieces and am enjoying it a lot, the old film footage looks really vibrant and 1971ish.

Plus: Home-movie b&w footage of li'l Yoko!

Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

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6 May 2019
8.42pm
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It's currently airing on Netflix.

7 May 2019
3.21pm
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Found it on Netflix yesterday and just watched it.

I went into it thinking “what else can they possibly show or say that we haven’t seen already?” but I was pleasantly surprised, especially at the warm and sensitive treatment of Yoko (and not scripted, but genuine).

A really touching documentary.

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"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

7 May 2019
9.07pm
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Elementary Penguin
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Expert Textpert said
Found it on Netflix yesterday and just watched it.

I went into it thinking “what else can they possibly show or say that we haven’t seen already?” but I was pleasantly surprised, especially at the warm and sensitive treatment of Yoko (and not scripted, but genuine).

A really touching documentary.

  

I saw a Facebook post saying that it was on Netflix and I thought of you. 

 

I am glad you got to see it and enjoyed it. 

 

I agree about what they could that we haven't already seen but we were treated to some great new footage and I like the way that Yoko was treated as well. 

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And in the end the lunch you take is equal to the lunch you bake.

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