Frank Zappa – Ringo – Beatles
200 Motels is a 1971 American-British musical surrealist film cowritten and directed by Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer and starring The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel and Ringo Starr. A soundtrack album was released in the same year, with a slightly different selection of music.
In 200 Motels, the film attempts to portray the craziness of life on the road as a rock musician, and as such consists of a series of unconnected nonsense vignettes interspersed with concert footage of the Mothers of Invention. Ostensibly, while on tour The Mothers of Invention go crazy in the small fictional town of Centerville (“a real nice place to raise your kids up in”), wander around and get beat up in a cowboy bar. In a long cartoon interlude, bassist “Jeff” quits the group, as did his real life counterpart, Jeff Simmons, who was fired for insubordination before the film began shooting. Simmons was replaced by Martin Lickert (who was Ringo’s chauffeur) for the film. Almost every scene is drenched with video special effects (double and triple exposures, solarisation, false color, speed changes, etc.) which were innovative in 1971. The film has been dubbed a “surrealistic documentary”.
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