"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the...
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A concert movie showing a performance by the much-loved 1973 incarnation of the Mothers of Invention. An incredible cast of musicians treat us to a selection of blistering, pointillist jazz... See full summary »
Napoleon Murphy Brock
In a little over an hour, 'VIDEO FROM HELL' provides a preview of current and projected Honker releases, including 'BABY SNAKES', 'THE TRUE STORY OF 200 MOTELS' and 'UNCLE MEAT' (all 1987 ... See full summary »
Phyllis Smith Altenhaus,
Using takes and rehearsals discarded from the original edit plus interviews made during the shooting, Zappa reconstructs the bizarre story of 200 Motels, one of the most problematic ... See full synopsis »
Phyllis Smith Altenhaus,
BBC Symphony Orchestra
"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a tale of life on the road. The band members' main concerns are the search for groupies and the desire to get paid. Written by
George S. Davis
The role of Jeff was originally intended for Mothers bassist Jeff Simmons who quit the group just prior to filming. Needing a replacement, Frank Zappa hired Wilfrid Brambell. Within a few days, Brambell walked off the set in a rage and Zappa had to replace him. During a crew meeting, Zappa announced that he would give the part to the next person who walked into the room. Martin Lickert, who was Ringo Starr's chauffeur, was thus cast in the role upon returning from the limousine with a pack of cigarettes for Starr. See more »
It is a long time since I saw this film, so am really going off memory - however I am certain that if I say this is one of the most off-the-wall movies ever made, few who have seen it would disagree!
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were an excellent bunch of musicians who had evolved into a bit of send-up on the side by the time '200 Motels' was released. This means it falls rather heavily between being a rock musical or a comedy tour film a la Spinal Tap. Ringo Starr appears as Larry the Dwarf. Keith Moon appears as a nun (now, that's scary!); while, for reasons unknown, Theodore Bikel is there throughout as the spaced out Dave (Bikel was in 'My Fair Lady' as the star pupil amongst other mainstream features).
In good company amongst features such as 'Head' (The Monkees) and 'Born to Boogie' (T-Rex) I suppose '200 Motels' is very much of its time but looks silly and dated all these years on.
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