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Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1 Viewer)

bigshot

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Stephen
If you're familiar with this film, you know how messed up it's been on home video... wrong aspect ratio, wrong speed, bad color, muffled sound, dialogue missing, fuzzy picture... just about everything that could go wrong with a film happened to this one. I just screened the brand new DVD transfer (Aug 2018) and finally there is a home video version of this film that looks and sounds the way it's supposed to.

The movie features bizarre skits depicting life of a rock band on the road, along with live footage of the reconstituted Mothers of Invention featuring Flo and Eddie. The host is Ringo Starr dressed up as Zappa- Zappa himself barely appears in the film- along with Keith Moon, Theodore Bikel, Pamela des Barres and the Royal Philharmonic orchestra. There is a great animated sequence too.

The film was shot in an experimental video format and includes all kinds of psychedelic optical effects. It's a lot like The Monkees "Head" with comedy bits, music and wild colors. I was very impressed with the sophistication of the video technology, considering the film was released in 1971. They must have gotten access to the original video tape masters, because it looks like a video now, not a kinescope.

I'm not sure how they fixed the speed issues. The film was shot on PAL video and slowed down to 24 FPS on a previous release, making everything drag. I didn't notice any dropped frames or interlacing problems, and it runs at the right speed now.

The sound is clear with good bass (it sounded muffled and thin in the past) and it comes with a 5.1 remix and the original soundtrack. The 5.1 mix is fairly conservative. They must not have had access to the multitrack masters, but it does the job nicely without a lot of ping pong tricks.

It's a really forward thinking film, foreshadowing the look of rock videos a decade later. Well worth picking up.
 

dvdclon

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David
If you're familiar with this film, you know how messed up it's been on home video... wrong aspect ratio, wrong speed, bad color, muffled sound, dialogue missing, fuzzy picture... just about everything that could go wrong with a film happened to this one. I just screened the brand new DVD transfer (Aug 2018) and finally there is a home video version of this film that looks and sounds the way it's supposed to.

The movie features bizarre skits depicting life of a rock band on the road, along with live footage of the reconstituted Mothers of Invention featuring Flo and Eddie. The host is Ringo Starr dressed up as Zappa- Zappa himself barely appears in the film- along with Keith Moon, Theodore Bikel, Pamela des Barres and the Royal Philharmonic orchestra. There is a great animated sequence too.

The film was shot in an experimental video format and includes all kinds of psychedelic optical effects. It's a lot like The Monkees "Head" with comedy bits, music and wild colors. I was very impressed with the sophistication of the video technology, considering the film was released in 1971. They must have gotten access to the original video tape masters, because it looks like a video now, not a kinescope.

I'm not sure how they fixed the speed issues. The film was shot on PAL video and slowed down to 24 FPS on a previous release, making everything drag. I didn't notice any dropped frames or interlacing problems, and it runs at the right speed now.

The sound is clear with good bass (it sounded muffled and thin in the past) and it comes with a 5.1 remix and the original soundtrack. The 5.1 mix is fairly conservative. They must not have had access to the multitrack masters, but it does the job nicely without a lot of ping pong tricks.

It's a really forward thinking film, foreshadowing the look of rock videos a decade later. Well worth picking up.

Which label released this?
 

mBen989

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Aug 28, 2014
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Matthew
I have some questions.

-Widescreen or full frame?
- Pressed or B.O.D.?
- Does it have Theodore Bikel saying "Ladies and gentlemen" right after the opening credits? That line was missing from MGM's B.O.D. disc.
- Do you like my new car? It's a Filmore.
 
Last edited:

bigshot

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Stephen
It is widescreen. Pressed. Not sure about the last two, but I noticed that it had a Ringo line that had been cut in the past and Bikel introduces the film at the beginning.

The source of most of this is definitely video, not film. Was the MGM sourced from a film print?
 

mBen989

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Aug 28, 2014
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Matthew
It is widescreen. Pressed. Not sure about the last two, but I noticed that it had a Ringo line that had been cut in the past and Bikel introduces the film at the beginning.

The source of most of this is definitely video, not film. Was the MGM sourced from a film print?

I believe so but the UA logo at the start (this one: ) has me confused. (Of course I realize that's par for the course with MGM/UA)
 

bigshot

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Stephen
This has the UA logo and an MGM logo. And I think Fox is credited somewhere too.
 

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