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200 Motels
     

200 Motels

Director: Tony Palmer, Frank Zappa

Cast: The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel

 

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Less a movie than a purposely crude series of musical vignettes and inside jokes for die-hard fans, Frank Zappa informs viewers in the opening scene that "Touring can make you crazy, ladies and gentlemen, and that is what 200 Motels is all about." The rest of the plot-less production is filled with more self-reflexive reminders, as the close-up eye and tape

Overview

Less a movie than a purposely crude series of musical vignettes and inside jokes for die-hard fans, Frank Zappa informs viewers in the opening scene that "Touring can make you crazy, ladies and gentlemen, and that is what 200 Motels is all about." The rest of the plot-less production is filled with more self-reflexive reminders, as the close-up eye and tape recorder signal that Zappa is watching everything his bandmembers are doing. Reasonably, the Mothers of Invention make up the cast, notably Jimmy Carl Black, who repeatedly remarks how he just wants to quit the band and go play real music, have a beer, and get laid. The character of Jeff, played by Martin Lickert, was written for bassist Jeff Simmons, who actually did quit the band just prior to shooting. Other cast members include real-life groupies appearing in some bizarre nudity sequences, along with the Who's drummer Keith Moon as the Hot Nun who overdoses on drugs. Ringo Starr appears as Larry the Dwarf and lends some humorous narration, but that does not clarify any of the proceedings. The action supposedly takes place in Centerville, which is really a kind of poorly dressed set guarded by soldiers. The scenes are randomly assembled and interspersed with performances, including the songs "Lonesome Cowboy Burt," "Magic Fingers," and "Strictly Genteel."

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
A truly bizarre head movie, 200 Motels claims to be about life on the road for the touring musician. One of the first feature-length movies to be shot on videotape and transferred to 35 mm film for the theatrical release, it was made in less than a week in England with a minimal budget. Having no plot to follow coupled with the amateurish cinematography makes for an intentionally disturbing cinematic experience. However, the tacky production design, bold colors, and jarring edits that seem to be chosen at random are classic components of late-'60s and early-'70s psychedelia. Made during Zappa's artistic fascination with the rock & roll touring lifestyle as evidenced in his albums of the time (Chunga's Revenge, Fillmore East), the cast includes real-life groupies including Pamela Miller, who later authored I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. A must-see for Zappa fans, the dialogue is filled with in-jokes and references. Like Zappa's music, 200 Motels is provocative, funny, and an over-the-top satire; but unlike the musician's recordings, it is not as finely crafted. Featuring the music from the album of the same name with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, this project met one of Zappa's longtime goals of recording with a full symphony.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/20/2010
UPC:
0604388714902
Original Release:
1971
Source:
Tony Palmer Films
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:38:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mothers of Invention Themselves
Theodore Bikel Rance Muhammitz
Ringo Starr Larry the Dwarf
Janet Ferguson Actor
Lucy Offerall Groupies
Pamela Miller Interviewer
Tony Palmer Actor
Frank Zappa Himself
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Actor
George Duke Member of Mothers of Invention
Howard Kaylan Member of Mothers of Invention
Keith Moon The Hot Nun
Don Preston Member of Mothers of Invention
Mark Volman Member of Mothers of Invention
Jimmy Carl Black Lonesome Cowboy Burt
Aynsley Dunbar Actor
Martin Lickert Actor
Ian Underwood Actor
Elgar Howarth Conductor

Technical Credits
Tony Palmer Director,Cinematographer,Screenwriter
Frank Zappa Director,Score Composer,Screenwriter
David Alexander Asst. Director
Richard Alonzo Special Effects
Leo Austin Art Director
Herb Cohen Producer
Jerry Good Producer
Rich Harrison Editor
Bert Luxford Special Effects
Gillian Lynne Choreography
James Ruxin Editor
Elliot Solomon Score Composer
Nick White Art Director
Sue Yelland Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Frank Zappa: 200 Motels
1. Enter Larry the Dwarf - Ringo [3:55]
2. Touring Can Make You Crazy - The Mothers [2:42]
3. Rance Muhammitz and the Steaming Cheeseburger and Frank is Watching!! [5:15]
4. "I Don't Know Too Much About This Stuff- Do You?" [4:47]
5. "Centerville - A Real Nice Place to Raise Your Kids Up" including the Rancid Boutique [3:27]
6. "This Town is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich" [1:45]
7. Lonesome Cowboy Burt [6:33]
8. Ringo Speaks About the Life of a Musician! [2:22]
9. "Oooo....The Way You Squeeze Me, Baby" [5:00]
10. Redneck Eats [1:20]
11. The Raving Nun (Keith Moon) and the Newts While the Girl Wants to Fix Him Some Broth! [5:13]
12. The Dental Hygiene Movie [6:17]
13. The Groupies Rescue the Nun From His Death Bed [6:34]
14. "Penis Dimension [4:48]
15. "She Painted Up Her Face" [3:57]
16. "Half a Dozen Provocative Squats" & "Shove It Right In" [5:05]
17. Ringo Is Finding Some Pussy & Bwana Dick [1:44]
18. "What Will This Evening Bring Me?" [2:11]
19. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" [4:01]
20. Vile Foamy Liquids [4:33]
21. The Vacuum Cleaner Is Attacked!! [1:41]
22. Jeff's Trip [3:01]
23. The End, Except For "Lord Have Mercy on the People of England" Followed By "We Have to Get Wasted" [10:31]
24. End Credits [1:26]

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