Frank Zappa 200 Motels

An image of how "life on the road" was for rock bands 40 years ago, starring Frank Zappa.
200 Motels
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Rating 3.1
16 ratings
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Item:  TPDVD 127D
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DVD Details

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 38 minutes
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1971
  • Label: TONY PALMER

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , &
Directed by &
Music by

Description by

Frank Zappa's "200 Motels" is a cult classic. The story, scattered with performances by Mothers of Invention and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a plotless tale of life on the road for touring musicians. Originally shot on video and restored here, "200 Motels" is a surrealistic nonstop visual extravaganza starring Frank Zappa and the Mothers, Ringo Starr and Who drummer Keith Moon. Reissued for 2014!

Product Description:

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels is a film that defies categorization. Although it was released to theaters, it was shot on videotape and blown up for the big screen. Zappa was inspired by life on the road to assemble this surreal, somewhat uneven movie, which has no real plot; it is more like a series of music videos with occasional narrative passages, featuring actor Theodore Bikel as the mysterious government agent Rance Muhammitz, Ringo Starr playing Larry the Dwarf, who is dressed up to look like Zappa, and Keith Moon as a bizarre nun. A lot of the humor will appeal strictly to Zappa fans, as will the often exciting music. Highlights include the hard driving "Mystery Roach," the hilarious "Lonesome Cowboy Burt," with a vocal by former Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black, and the grandiose finale, "Strictly Genteel," complete with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which Zappa would re-record on more than one occasion. Oddly enough, Zappa's appearances on screen are rather fleeting when compared to most rock musicians, who seem to feel that the camera must be on the leader 90% of the time. The supporting cast of the Mothers of Invention on this occasion include lead singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (formerly of the Turtles), saxophonist Ian Underwood, George Duke (making a rare appearance on trombone instead of keyboards), drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and Ringo Starr's chauffeur, Martin Lickert, who was hired to play bass on screen after Jeff Simmons walked out (though the actual bass playing is probably by Jim Pons). Zappa's later concert videos put out by his label Honker Home Video are far superior musically to this early film, but his innovative ideas of the time stand up very well against the unimaginative music videos of the MTV generation in the decades that followed. ~ Ken Dryden

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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 19,906
  • UPC: 604388714902
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item