September 10, 1984 12:00 PM

It’s a tribute to John Lennon that even this jejune “last television interview” with him can be so fascinating. The interest lies in the historical moment as well as the man. Conducted by NBC’s Tom Snyder (in April 1975), the interview ranges from the Beatles’ early days to the then current deportation proceedings brought against Lennon, at the time aggressively propounding his antiwar message. The addition of 1980 interviews with New York Post reporter Lisa Robinson and Double Fantasy album co-producer Jack Douglas, both of whom were with Lennon shortly before his death, puts in perspective the social trends that Lennon reflected. That the centerpiece interview is at times tedious is due mostly to Snyder. He did give Lennon a fair forum, but Snyder, MMM clad in a leisure suit, oozing hipness and posing coy questions about sex and drugs, ends up embodying all the phoniness Lennon opposed. This tape suggests that video, by making such visual documents more accessible, may become a new American medium through which we will be increasingly presenting and examining ourselves. And it does hold a message from Lennon as interpreted by Douglas: “He meant the ’80s to be optimistic, and he wanted to tell everyone that it would be all right if we just pull together.” (Karl Video Corporation, $29.95)

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