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John and Yoko: A Love Story

John and Yoko: A Love Story
GenreBiography
Drama
Music
Romance
Directed bySandor Stern
StarringMark McGann
Kim Miyori
Kenneth Price
Peter Capaldi
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)John J. McMahon
Producer(s)Aida Young
Terance T. Power (associate producer)
CinematographyAlan Hume
Editor(s)Ralph Sheldon
Running time146 minutes
Production company(s)Carson Productions
DistributorNBC
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseDecember 2, 1985

John and Yoko: A Love Story is a 1985 American made-for-television biographical film that chronicles the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, beginning just before they met in 1966 and concluding with Lennon's murder in 1980. The movie was made with the co-operation of Yoko Ono, who controlled the song rights.[1] It was directed by Sandor Stern and stars Mark McGann as Lennon and Kim Miyori as Ono.

Plot

On August 19, 1966, protestors burn their Beatles records and paraphernalia after Lennon says the The Beatles are more popular than Jesus. When a firecracker is thrown onto the stage the group decides to stop touring.

John meets Yoko Ono, who is married and has a daughter. John brings her to the studio with him, causing friction with the other Beatles. The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, dies of an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. John develops a crush on Yoko.

In 1968, The Beatles and their partners travel to India for transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On his return, John invites Yoko to his house while their partners are both away. They record songs together and consummate their relationship at dawn.

John and Yoko stage art exhibitions and plant acorns for peace. John is arrested for possession of hashish, and Paul bails him out. Yoko miscarries John's baby. John, Yoko, Kyoko, and Julian are hurt in a car accident. Paul marries Linda Eastman, and John marries Yoko in Gibraltar. He starts playing with Yoko's Plastic Ono Band.

John and Yoko stage "Bed-Ins for Peace" in Amsterdam and Montreal, which receive wide attention. Paul signs with his father in-law Lee Eastman as manager; John, George, and Ringo sign with Allen Klein. Yoko again miscarries. In 1970, The Beatles disband and Yoko is widely blamed by the public.

A year later, Yoko's ex-husband Tony Cox refuses to let Yoko see their daughter Kyoko, in breach of the granting of joint custody. Yoko takes Kyoko during a trip to Mallorca, Spain, but is charged with kidnapping.

In 1971, John and Yoko emigrate to New York where he records his hit solo album Imagine. They are threatened with deportation, spied on, and their house is bugged. Tony is jailed for denying access to Kyoko. Yoko obtains full custody of Kyoko but does not know where she is.

Upset at Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election, John gets drunk and has sex with another woman, prompting Yoko to say she still loves him but that they need time apart. He goes to Los Angeles and begins an affair with music producer May Pang. He and Harry Nilsson are thrown out of the Troubadour nightclub for drunkenly heckling The Smothers Brothers.

In 1974 Nixon resigns and Elton John collaborates on Lennon's song "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" for his new album Walls and Bridges, and makes a deal for a concert appearance if the song hits #1. When it does, Lennon joins Elton's Madison Square Garden concert in November, and sings "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" with him. Afterwards, John encounters Yoko backstage and Elton reveals he had known she was in the audience. John and Yoko reunite, and on October 9, 1975, John's 35th birthday, Yoko gives birth by Cesarian section to their son Sean. John learns that the deportation order against him has been overturned.

John decides to retire to raise Sean for the first five years of his life, becoming a house spouse while Yoko runs a business. Three years later, Julian visits John and has a jamming session with him and three-year-old Sean. Kyoko wants to visit for Christmas but is unable to, leaving Yoko sad.

In 1980, John is amazed by new-wave music and starts writing songs again for a new album. John and Yoko record first Double Fantasy, and then Milk and Honey.

On December 8, after a recording session, John suggests they go on tour when the album is released. Yoko asks that they go and eat, but John wants to go home and see Sean. After arriving, John hears his name called, and turns to face a man pointing a gun at him and about to shoot.

Main cast

Actor Role
Mark McGann John Lennon
Kim Miyori Yoko Ono
Kenneth Price Paul McCartney
Peter Capaldi George Harrison
Phillip Walsh Ringo Starr
Richard Morant Brian Epstein
Rachel Laurence Cynthia Lennon
Vincent Marzello Anthony Cox
John Sinclair George Martin
Matthew Marsh Elton John

Production

The production of the movie required various song rights only available from Yoko Ono, thereby granting her some control over the content.[1] John J. McMahon was executive producer, and Sandor Stern wrote and directed. Stern was chosen after a script by Edward Hume was rejected by Ono after it depicted too much drug abuse.[1]

Mark Lindsay was originally considered for the role of John Lennon. Yoko Ono had been deeply involved in the production and had herself been initially impressed with his audition and approved his casting prior to discovering his full name was Mark Lindsay Chapman. She then nixed his casting on the grounds it was "bad karma" as his name was similar to Mark David Chapman.[2] Lindsay was quietly paid off and the role went to Mark McGann. Eventually Lindsay did portray Lennon, in the film Chapter 27 (2007), which ironically had Mark David Chapman as the lead character. Mike Myers has an early uncredited appearance as a delivery boy.

Reviews

John J. O'Connor's review in The New York Times praised the acting of McGann and Miyori in the title roles. However, he found the movie to be often "ploddingly dull" and the songs the "best part of the show."[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d O'Connor, John J. (December 2, 1985). "NBC'S 'JOHN AND YOKO: A LOVE STORY'". New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  2. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (November 1987). Movies Made for Television: The Telefeature and the Mini-Series: 1964-1986. New York Zoetrope. p. 214. ISBN 0-918432-80-4.

External links