200 Motels DVD – Review by SOTCAA

Frank Zappa’s 1971 big-screen venture 200 Motels has not been particularly well-preserved on VHS over the years. Although there have been several releases and re-releases, these have tended to be sourced from the same slightly iffy video masters with no attempts at any kind of upgrade.

The first ever (official) DVD release of the film last month on the Voiceprint label should have been the perfect opportunity to rectify this. Sadly, this release – overseen and ‘restored’ by original co-director Tony Palmer – stands out as not only the worst edition of the film ever commercially released but could actually hold the honour of being the worst DVD ever compiled. (…)

It looks like shit.

Full – very very detailed – article here (see our previous post about the DVD!) Just one side-note: on the official site of the DVD one will find where the trailer should be: “This video is no longer available because of copyright reasons – belonging to¬† Metro-Goldwin-Mayer”.
(Sorry, the latter had to be translated back to English from Hungarian… I’m not sure whether it’s perfect, but you’ll understand anyway.)

8 Responses to “200 Motels DVD – Review by SOTCAA”

  1. Slap says:

    Nice article.

    Incredibly detailed parsing of the flaws, and they’re NUMEROUS.

    Oh, well. Maybe one of these days we’ll see a proper version.

    That damned MGM. They were never a good partner.

  2. urbangraffito says:

    Well conceived article.

    It really is sad to see Frank Zappa’s work being used for profit in this way. I can’t say I have had that much of a positive experience of any of the 200 Motels releases, though (Tony Palmer’s release just being the most recent pick at the maestro’s bones).

    In my opinion, 200 Motels was, and is, a group experience – best viewed on the BIG SCREEN in the company of 200 plus Zappa/Mothers freaks. It just doesn’t translate to the small screen. Never did.

    My most vivid memories, and experiences, were of going to midnight viewings of 200 Motels at the local art theatre – much like others would later go see ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ – drinking, and singing and dancing in the aisles (until 200 Motels was outright banned from being shown publicly). Still, those were the days that DVDs can never replace.

  3. ken duvall says:

    Very nice article !!!

  4. exile says:

    Why isn’t Gail going after the lying narcissist with lawyers and a big stick, for abusing the artist’s intent and his memory? I know it’s a difficult film for most people anyway, but it didn’t deserve this amateurish, heavy-handed butchering.

  5. GreenHocker says:

    The MGM Channel aired 200 Motels ‘For the first time ever in HD’ a few weeks ago. I have it on my DVR. I’m not an expert on the film, but I think it might be a little easier on the eyes than what I saw the last time. Don’t know if it’s scheduled to air again or not…

  6. jonnybutter says:

    Just a little more evidence, as if anymore were really needed, that Palmer is a cunt. Sorry, but that’s the word. He’s a liar and a phony. And that stuff about how he remained ‘friends’ with Zappa makes me gag. Some of Frank’s blanket statements about England were a bit unfair, but when he used the phrase ‘two-faced and snotty’, he was being accurate about someone other than just journalists…

  7. LR says:

    So did the film fall out of copyright or something? I can’t believe the ZFT would let that happen…

  8. Joseph C says:

    A quote from GreenHocker:

    The MGM Channel aired 200 Motels ‘For the first time ever in HD’ a few weeks ago. I have it on my DVR. I’m not an expert on the film, but I think it might be a little easier on the eyes than what I saw the last time. Don’t know if it’s scheduled to air again or not…

    Hi – I wrote the article under discussion here. Greenhocker, do you still have the MGM HD transmission of the film? It might be useful to further compare the picture and sound quality with all the versions thus far.

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