World of Westfahl | Encyclopedia Introduction | All Entries | Acknowledgements
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

L Entries
Elsa Lanchester
Martin Landau
Robert Lansing
Glen A. Larson
Jack Larson
Christopher Lee
Mark Lenard
John Lennon
John Lithgow
June Lockhart
Robert Longo
Peter Lorre
Eugene Lourie
George Lucas
Bela Lugosi
William Lundigan
 
LENNON, JOHN
(1940–1980). British songwriter and musician.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in, and wrote music for: Help! (Richard LESTER 1965); Magical Mystery Tour (and co- produced with George HARRISON, Paul  MCCARTNEY, Denis O'Dell, and Ringo STARR; co-wrote with George HARRISON, Paul MCCARTNEY, and Ringo STARR; and co-directed with George HARRISON, Bernard Knowles, Paul MCCARTNEY, and Ringo STARR) (tv movie) (1967); Yellow Submarine (animated) (George Dunning 1968). Appeared in a few music videos created after his death employing old footage.

Acted in: How I Won the War (Lester 1966); "Christmas Special" (1966), episode of Not Only… But Also.

Co-wrote with Robert Benton, Jules Feiffer, Dan Greenburg, Jacques Levy, Leonard Melfi, David Newman, Margo Sappington, Sam Shepard, Clovis Trouille, Kenneth Tynan, and Sherman Yellen: Oh, Calcutta! (tv movie) (Levy 1972).

Produced, directed, appeared in, and wrote music for: Imagine (documentary) (1973).

 
For seven eventful years, the members of the Beatles both profited from, and felt imprisoned by, the universal perception that they were four essentially similar, lovable moptops—a belief so widespread that one of the proposed scripts they rejected as their third film would have had them playing four aspects of a single man's personality. Unsurprisingly, after the group split up in 1970, all of the ex-Beatles then struggled to show the world that they were, in fact, distinct and very different individuals. And this volume's original policy of discussing their contributions to science fiction film in a single entry, while perhaps a defensible convenience, can be belatedly recognized as an affront to those efforts.

Out of all the Beatles, surely, John Lennon was best prepared for a career in film. He was a naturally talented actor, as demonstrated in the first two Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help!, and was recruited by director Richard LESTER for a small part in his surreal antiwar film, How I Won the War (1966); he had some genuine ability as a writer, as demonstrated by his two books of satirical sketches, In His Own Write (1964) and A Spaniard in the Works (1965), and the first book was even adapted as a play in 1968; and, as a former art student, he had a natural affinity for the woman he met and married, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, and they went on to make a number of short films.

However, Lennon had absolutely no interest in anything resembling a conventional narrative. He was visibly bored by the antics in Help!; irritated by the long waits between filming while on the set of How I Won the War, he sought no further acting roles; while officially credited as a co-author, co-producer, and co-director of the chaotic television special Magical Mystery Tour, Paul MCCARTNEY was really in charge, and he and the other Beatles were just along for the ride; and he contributed nothing but a cameo appearance to Yellow Submarine. As for the films he made with Yoko Ono, they are best described as eccentric documentaries that have been viewed, for the most part, solely by diehard Beatles fans; topics include a study of John's penis, the construction of an office building, and a woman they randomly chose to follow about with a camera. The only Lennon film that occasionally surfaces, his documentary about the making of the album Imagine, had a few visually striking touches, like the sequence of John singing "Imagine" while Yoko opens all the windows in a vast room, gradually brightening the environment. With no real desire to tell stories, John also was doing little writing, save for a few contributions to the erotic musical Oh, Calcutta! which was later filmed for television.

By the mid-1970s, all of John's artistic endeavors came to a halt, as he first focused on his battle to remain in the United States and later on raising his son Sean. By the time he returned to the spotlight in 1980, he had seemingly resolved to focus on the one activity that had always been central to his life—making music—as he recorded a new album with Yoko and planned to embark upon a concert tour. But in October, 1980, an assassin's bullet brought his career to a premature end.

In the decades since his death, his widow Yoko Ono has kept his memory alive with new albums of unreleased material and the preparation of a series of music videos, using old footage, to promote his music for a new generation; in similar fashion, when the surviving Beatles worked on tapes of two unreleased Lennon songs to produce two new Beatles songs in 1995 ("Free as a Bird" and "Real Love"), skillfully edited videos seemingly reunited him with his old companions. And these videos probably represent John Lennon's most significant, and most poignant, contributions to science fiction and fantasy film.

To contact us about encyclopedia matters, send an email to Gary Westfahl.
If you find any Web site errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to our Webmaster.
Copyright © 1999–2014 Gary Westfahl All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Hosted & Designed By:
SF Site spot art