One to one concerts scheduled for documentary

Many years ago, film footage and audio recordings of John and Yoko’s “One To One” benefit concerts for Willowbrook in 1972 was reedited, remixed and remastered by Jack Douglas at Yoko Ono’s request, but no product ever made it to the public. Now it emerges that a documentary about the concerts is in the making. 

Audio remixing duties are now said to have been done by John Lennon’s son, Sean. There was a posthumous album as well as a concert video, both titled “John Lennon Live In New York City” available in the eighties, but the products were never updated to new formats or remixed again. You can read about those, and comments from Jack Douglas about the remake of the project in our 2014 blog post titled “Lennon’s One to One concerts due soon” 😀

This new documentary is most likely a leftover from the aborted 50th anniversary release of “Sometime in New York City”, which seems to have been scrapped due to the controversial title “Woman is the nigger of the world”. Although controversial in its day, these days it’s absolutely a no go territory.

Here’s the press release for the upcoming documentary:

LOS ANGELES, May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Mercury Studios today announced its new feature documentary, “One to One: John & Yoko,” a moving look at the couple’s life upon their entry into a transformative 1970’s New York, exploring their musical, personal, artistic, social, and political world. Set in 1972 against the backdrop of a turbulent era in American history, the film was directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Photo credit: © Ben Ross Photography

At the core of the story are the One to One Concerts, John Lennon’s only full-length performances after The Beatles, accompanied by Yoko Ono, The Plastic Ono Band, Elephant’s Memory and Special Guests. With remixed concert audio produced by Sean Ono Lennon, the film features newly transferred and restored footage, as well as a wealth of previously unseen and unheard personal archives, such as phone calls and home movies recorded and filmed by John and Yoko themselves.

A look inside two of history’s most influential and iconic artists, the film provides an intimate opportunity for viewers to travel inside the lives of John and Yoko and experience the decisions, passions, and challenges they faced during this time.

“I wanted to make a film that surprises and delights even the most dedicated Lennon and Ono fans by focusing on one transformative period in their lives and telling the tale through their own words, images and music,” said director Kevin Macdonald. “Built around the beautiful 16mm film footage of the only full-length concert John gave after leaving the Beatles I hope the film will introduce the audience to a more intimate version of John and Yoko – while also reflecting their politically radical and experimental sides.”

Sean Ono Lennon says, “Kevin’s documentary brings completely fresh insight into my parents’ lives during their Bank Street and early New York years, showing first hand their unwavering dedication to promoting peace and non-violence during a turbulent era of unrest, corruption and unnecessary war.”

Alice Webb, Mercury Studios CEO says “This film is ultimately a story of radical hope. It is an honest and intimate look at a pivotal year in John and Yoko’s lives – a melting pot of politics, youth culture, self-growth, and spine-tingling artistry. I’m honored to bring this story to fans everywhere with the impeccable Kevin Macdonald, Sean and Peter.”

Macdonald is no stranger to documentaries, directing multiple award-winning stories such as Oscar® winning “One Day in September,” BAFTA Best British Film “Touching the Void,” “Life in a Day,” BAFTA and Grammy® nominated “Marley,” Grammy® nominated “Whitney,” and “High and Low: John Galliano.” He also executive produced the award-winning documentaries “Senna” and “The Rescue.”

“It has been a remarkable privilege to be given access to the Lennon archives from the period,” said producer Peter Worsley. “Incorporating previously unheard recordings of private phone calls and home movies they made together, while setting the film inside a reconstruction of their apartment, brings us right into their world.”

The film is produced by Peter Worsley, Alice Webb and Kevin Macdonald and executive produced by Steve Condie, David Joseph and Marc Robinson for Mercury Studios and by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner for Plan B/KM Films. Editor and Co-director Sam Rice-Edwards, Consulting Producer Simon Hilton, and Line Producer Melissa Morton Hicks served on the project.

About Kevin Macdonald

Kevin Macdonald is a writer, director and producer of documentaries and fiction films. His documentaries as a director include One Day in September (Oscar® for best documentary, 2000); Touching the Void (BAFTA best British film, 2003), Life in a Day (2011 and 2021) Marley (BAFTA and Grammy nominated, 2012) Whitney (Grammy nominated; 2018) and High and Low: John Galliano (2024). He has also executive produced numerous documentaries including the award-winning Senna (2010) and The Rescue (2022) and has recently started a joint producing venture with Plan B in Los Angeles, with the goal of finding new talent and encouraging innovative, director-led documentaries. Kevin has also directed TV drama and fiction films, include The Last King of Scotland (2006, Oscar® and Bafta winner) State of Play (2009), How I Live Now (2013) and The Mauritanian (2021, Golden Globe winner and BAFTA nominee).

About Mercury Studios

Mercury Studios is a full-service production studio, focused on telling compelling stories through the lens of music. Current and recent projects include Oscar® and BAFTA award nominated American Symphony, directed by Matthew Heineman for the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions/Netflix, If These Walls Could Sing, directed by Mary McCartney for Disney+, My Life as a Rolling Stone for the BBC and MGM+, Shania Twain: Not Just A Girl for Netflix and This Town, a six-part series for the BBC from writer, creator, and executive producer Steven Knight. Mercury Studios also produced Sam Smith: Live at the Royal Albert Hall for BBC, Billie Eilish’s Overheated at the O2 London and Lang Lang Plays Disney for Disney+. Editorially independent, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and represents the world’s leading catalog of music-related content, consisting of thousands of hours of premium music-driven film and television programming.

About Plan B/KM Films

Plan B/KM Films is a new joint venture between Kevin Macdonald and Plan B Productions, with the goal of finding new talent and encouraging innovative, director-led documentaries. One to One: John & Yoko is the first film from Plan B/KM Films.

SOURCE: Mercury Studios

If this documentary doesn’t feature a full concert, perhaps one will follow?

16 Responses

  1. Rob Marshall says:

    “Two” of history’s most influential and iconic artists? I’d agree to one!

  2. mike says:

    Can’t stop scraping the barrel, jeez. Well, Geraldo must be happy, he loves getting attention.

  3. P Davies says:

    We’re talking one iconic artist and a leach who attached herself to him. Calling this deluded woman iconic is ludicrous.

    • Danny Jones says:

      you’re entitled to your opinion, but Yoko Ono was already a highly respected and well know person in the art world before she met John. He learned so much from her and without her we wouldn’t so much of his iconic work – including his most famous song Imagine. She is an icon for so many people but especially a lot of females, not for being a leach, but for being a strong independent and hugely influential artist in her own right. Absolutely not without her faults – same as John – but i would say she has as much right to be described as iconic. Again, that doesnt mean people have to like or enjoy her work, but i feel like whenever she starts to get the credit she deserves she immediately and unfairly gets jumped on and accused of being something in a derogatory way. And i wanted to try and balance this out. Peace & Love.

      • Tim Wilson says:

        How would any of us like having their significant other pilloried publicly? It happened with Linda also. How can any one of us expect any person around any of the individual Beatles to have the talent our heroes had or garner our affection for them? Paul/Linda and John/Yoko. It was about being close to your spouse and being a sounding board and contributor of ideas. I can’t criticize it…

      • Tumble Starker says:

        She was well known in the art world as being a pest, highly respected, not a chance, If she hadn’t met John, no one would have remembered her, don’t forget she tried to snare Paul first and when this failed she bombarded John, I disagree with her being an icon, name me something non-john related that she has created that is half decent, I will wait, Peas and Spuds! Tumble!

        • Brian from Canada says:

          Before meeting John, she was a developing visual artist with some reputation for her work. That reputation skyrocketed once she and John connected, leading to performance art like the bag in and the balloons. She had the admiration of those in the art world; whether she had it from others is something else.

          Where Yoko becomes more controversial is that she wavered between her own work and works which she makes a strong connection to John and his legacy. The latter seem leech-like; the former connect to those early days of interactive performance sculpture. Quite frankly, making a rest area of tress coming out of coffins is a very stunning piece to experience (or, at least, it was for me).

          But – in context of the time these concerts happened – there was no mistaking the influence of Yoko on the art world, joined by John. Her music was far more experimental than conventional. She was a very public figure who promoted positive messaging to the world. To say she wasn’t an icon for some (or that the love story between her and John wasn’t iconic for rock and roll) misses a key point.

          We may not like her singing or her works, but she did earn her reputation, that’s for sure.

        • Danny Jones says:

          hiya – i wouldn’t want to get in to a back and forth about the merits of her work, art is almost always subjective. You can see an over view of her career – pre lennon – on wikipedia, inc an exhibition of her work that was deemed interesting enough for Lennon to visit – and eventually meet Yoko at.

      • Win Corr says:

        Obviously. Yoko was not as famous as John. Who is? But Yoko was a full blown artist traveling in the circle of the greats of all time. Period. She was in the Fluxus Group and was championed by John Cage who she did events with, Marcel Duchamp and Peggy Guggenheim.. and doing multimedia conceptual art way back then. Now all the other baggage about breaking up the Beatles, her personality etc…Does not change that fact.

  4. Francis Chmielewski says:

    I don’t understand why it takes 50 + years for this and Let It Be to be finally released. I mean after all that time half of the audience is probably dead and others are too old to even care. The next generation couldn’t care less about it. But it seems like it’s a last minute effort to score some fast cash. I’m a big fan, but the show wasn’t that good. I have a very decent copy from Japan. John was great but the rest of the band was mediocre at best. BTW John was the only iconic one on that stage!

    • Win Corr says:

      That’s cockeyed. I think you would be surprised. Are you paying attention to the right things at all? At least when it comes to this.

  5. Glenn Milam says:

    The original releases were a bit of a let down, so I don’t have a lot of hope for a new version that includes the outtakes.

  6. Tumble Starker says:

    Average show, have the cassette copy and VHS copy of the gig, I never play either, and as someone points out, probably just another way of making money. Will watch out of interest!

  7. Juan Antonio says:

    Que hartazgo de Yoko…

  8. Philip says:

    I attended the evening show at Madison Square Garden on August 30, 1972. It was one on the loudest convents I have ever attended. It was raw rock n roll !

  9. Roger James says:

    The last few Lennon docs have been pretty good. May Pang’s story was fantastic. The One to One concert story is an interesting one. I wonder how much Geraldo Rivera is in the flick. As a life long Beatles fan I would rather see a good documentary than a fictional movie.

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