A set of previously unseen photographs of John Lennon smiling and playing up to the camera on the set of a film he starred in 50 years ago are expected to sell for £30,000 when they go up for auction.

In some of the pictures a windswept Lennon can be seen wearing his trademark round glasses as he stands at wicket keeper during an impromptu game of cricket during a break in filming.

The set of 200 candid images show the usually intense Beatle having fun on the set of the 1967 black comedy movie ‘How I Won the War’

Dressed in army fatigues and sporting a unruly hair cut, the Liverpudlian stands ready behind rudimentary stumps hastily made from a wooden box.

The legendary songwriter is also caught on camera laughing hysterically as he queue-jumps at the canteen.

He also looked comfortable wielding a big gun in the turret of a tank and in another picture he appears to have picked up the ‘1,000 yard’ stare of a seasoned veteran.

‘How I Won the War’ was released amidst the condemnation of the Vietnam war also starred ‘Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em’ star Michael Crawford, Roy Kinnear, and Jack MacGowran – who played alcoholic detective Burke Dennings in the Exorcist.

Despite his inexperience when it comes to acting, Lennon appears to have got on well with his co-stars as in one photograph he can be seen sharing a smoke with Kinnear.

The 200 negatives were all taken by the Austrian photographer Zdenko Hirschler who had hoped to use them in an exhibition entitled ‘Smiling with John Lennon’.

However,  the event never happened as the veteran photographer died last year. He left the negatives to a friend who has now decided to sell them.

Omega Auctions of Warrington, Cheshire, is selling the rare pictures which come complete with copyright so anyone who buys them can make money from them.


Karen Fairweather, director at Omega, said: ‘These are really rare photographs that show John Lennon just messing around and having fun.

‘It was at a time he didn’t know what he was going to do in the future and he thought The Beatles were coming to an end.

‘There are a couple where he is posing with a camera and he was joking with Hirschler that he was going to be a photographer and there is another of him laughing as he gets his food.

‘He just looks so happy and relaxed which is quite rare to see, he was very intense  but you just don’t see that in this collection. He’s just messing around and having such fun.’

For the film Lennon struggled to remember his lines so director Richard Lester shuffled him into to a supporting role of playing the comedic Musketeer Gripweed.

The film followed the farcical adventures of a group of soldiers battling the Nazis and is loosely based on the Allied landings in North Africa in 1942.

The collection of 200 black and white 35mm negatives, complete with contact sheets, have been valued at £30,000.

They will go under the hammer on March 22.