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lordevilvenom
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Post 2011-12-27 22:39   [Quote] 
The producers and Tony Palmer had no idea what the fuck they were doing/understood what Frank was trying to do in 200 Motels? I've just watched the footage of it being shot on Dutch television and the producer, Jerry Good has no idea what's going on.

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yetanother
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Post 2011-12-27 23:14   [Quote] 
That's quite obvious, isn't it? No surprises there... as a matter of fact, the actors and musicians probably didn't have a clue either.

Neither would any of us if we had been in the middle of all the absurdity, with roughly one week to shoot everything and not knowing how the final result would actually turn out (or whether it would turn out at all)...

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lordevilvenom
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Post 2011-12-27 23:29   [Quote] 
Well, I guess I had been living in denial, I thought everyone was on the same page until recently....stupid me haha.

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pbuzby
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Post 2011-12-27 23:43   [Quote] 
From the captions FZ wrote to appear during the documentary footage of Tony Palmer in the Barfko True Story Of 200 Motels video, I got the feeling FZ did not have fond memories of working with Tony Palmer.

And I haven't followed the story of the 200 Motels DVD very closely but I gathered Palmer doesn't have fond memories of FZ either.
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hoops
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Post 2011-12-28 08:04   [Quote] 
If you want to know what Palmer thought of 200 Motels just watch his DVD release of the film...which was/is a fucking disaster; disrespectful, slap-dash, incompetent, and only in it for the money.
Any further doubts on the subject can be assuaged by reading the thread on it...particularly Joeseph C's posts...

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tomtiddler
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Post 2011-12-28 13:03   [Quote] 
hoops wrote:
Any further doubts on the subject can be assuaged by reading the thread on it...particularly Joeseph C's posts...


Clicked the link to have a read, and it says this topic does not exist..
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hoops
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Post 2011-12-28 13:10   [Quote] 
tomtiddler wrote:
hoops wrote:
Any further doubts on the subject can be assuaged by reading the thread on it...particularly Joeseph C's posts...


Clicked the link to have a read, and it says this topic does not exist..


hmmm...well, it was certainly there yesterday when i got the links...sorry about that, someone's deleted it Sad

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Yuke
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Post 2011-12-28 13:12   [Quote] 
Funny you mention it... The other day I was looking up info on Euclid James 'Motorhead' Sherwood and found a great interview posted on the United Mutations web site (that name, UM, I just found out from researching Pauline Butcher's book was (is?) Frank's fan club). In the interview he's asked about his bizarre role in 200 Motels.

t'mershi duween magazine # 31: june 1993 wrote:
Motorhead: My part in the movie was just really strange. Frank wanted me to play a newt rancher and I was supposed to be in love with a vacuum cleaner. That was my deal in the film. I don't know what that had to do with anything. Frank just wanted to put that in.[snip] There's not much you can say about the film. It was just Frank's idea of how things were.


Another thing I found recently that was very interesting to me and touches on 200 Motels via a lecture audience question asked of Frank - "explain 200 Motels?"

From this YouTube vid - Frank Zappa College Lecture 1975 - starting at 1:47:50.

If you backtrack in the Q&A you'll notice that question comes not long after he explains some of his views on drugs, pretty funny considering how the above question is asked.
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yetanother
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Post 2011-12-28 18:18   [Quote] 
hoops wrote:
tomtiddler wrote:
hoops wrote:
Any further doubts on the subject can be assuaged by reading the thread on it...particularly Joeseph C's posts...


Clicked the link to have a read, and it says this topic does not exist..


hmmm...well, it was certainly there yesterday when i got the links...sorry about that, someone's deleted it Sad

Here's his (quite comprehensive) article on the subject though.

For some reason Google accuses it as a "potentially harmful" site... maybe Tony's been pulling some strings Rolling Eyes

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Joseph C
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Post 2011-12-31 20:19   [Quote] 
yetanother wrote:
Here's his (quite comprehensive) article on the subject though.

For some reason Google accuses it as a "potentially harmful" site... maybe Tony's been pulling some strings Rolling Eyes


Aye, sorry about that - I believe some virus infected the FTP program and added some dodgy extra script to the front page of the site. All fixed now - just waiting on Google to take another look and give it the all-clear.

Edit: Now seems to be all clear.
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franktomatozappa
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Post 2012-01-01 02:17   [Quote] 
I'm not sure Frank knew what was happening either. Of course he had a concept but as I understand it many compromises were made to keep everything within budget and on schedule. Decisions were made on the fly (eg. Martin Lickert). The emphasis was to get the raw footage. Any continuity would be done in the editing room to get it to jive with the concept. Whaddayasay?
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yetanother
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Post 2012-01-01 05:20   [Quote] 
Of course FZ couldn't predict the various obstacles he had to face, but at least he knew what he was doing whenever he had to change the script because last-minutes incidents had forced it upon him (and he probably could predict that there would be a lot of these). I mean, he was the only one who had at least a vague idea of how he was gonna edit the raw footage afterwards. Anyway, I still think it was all about the music - the whole movie was an absurd pretext to have his music recorded by a real symphony orchestra, so as long as he got at least some of the music on tape, the rest was easy to figure out...

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franktomatozappa
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Post 2012-01-01 08:48   [Quote] 
yetanother wrote:
Of course FZ couldn't predict the various obstacles he had to face, but at least he knew what he was doing whenever he had to change the script because last-minutes incidents had forced it upon him (and he probably could predict that there would be a lot of these). I mean, he was the only one who had at least a vague idea of how he was gonna edit the raw footage afterwards. Anyway, I still think it was all about the music - the whole movie was an absurd pretext to have his music recorded by a real symphony orchestra, so as long as he got at least some of the music on tape, the rest was easy to figure out...


I like that theory about it being a pre-text. I must say I have always thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack. I mean, Dental Hygiene Dilemma and I'm Stealing the Towels - those are just absolute classics in melding text and music IMHO!
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Joseph C
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Post 2012-01-01 19:38   [Quote] 
Some notes I made for an attempted chronology of the shoot a while back. A lot of this is jumbled and speculative at best, but might be of some interest...

Quote:
Thursday, January 28 1971

First day of shooting. 8:30 - make-up; 9.00 start. Mornings - music; 12.00 Lunch. 1.00pm: script. 5.20pm end.

Also on-set for several days throughout the production were Roelof Kiers and the VPRO film crew. The first documentary had yet to be broadcast (it would go out as an hour-long edit, under the simple title 'Frank Zappa' on February 11 1971) and it's possible that the filming at Pinewood was initially undertaken as part of that project. Either way, a 35-minute documentary called Frank Zappa filmt 200 Motels was made, primarily from the behind-the-scenes footage, and broadcast on December 23, 1971.

The latter docu includes interviews with the cast and productions team, rehearsals, and footage of the actual taping of various scenes. Most excitingly, it covers several scenes which were later edited out of the film.

In an interview with Bugle American ('A Matter of Taste', published December 17, 1975) Zappa suggested that there was still more material from the documentary still to be made available:

Quote:
The thing that needs to come out is the documentary which was shot while we were making it. At the point where that material is made available to the public and they can watch that and 200 Motels at the same time, people who thought they knew what they saw before are going to be in a lot of trouble.

I'll have to take your word for it, I guess.

Please do, because I'm not lying to you. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye or the ear.

What kind of documentary are you talking about?

Well, the Dutch television company sent a crew up there to film us in 16 mm while we were shooting, and I have all the footage. We have interviews with various members of the cast, asking them all kinds of questions that I wasn't in on. It was all done completely and independently of my knowledge. When you see Mark and Howard (Volman and Kaylan) in the interview, and when you hear the things they have to say about the film and about the group, and find out how they talked and what kind of people they are in real life, and watch them against what's happening in the movie, and see Jimmy Carl Black talking about his role in the film, Motorhead, Don Preston, and just watch how this is all connected, and see what 200 Motels is in terms of a documentary of the most advanced nature, by taking the actual facts - statistical facts - he is this; he said that; he did this; he will do this; he has done that; later on he won't even know he's done this over here; - and they're all that way in the film - you take the facts, and then transmogrify that into a musical event with optical effects that have to pay for the day, and you stick it all together in one package, and that's what 200 Motels is. Now, because the elite corps of rock and roll journalism who wound up suddenly being film critics - and those were the ones who panned 200 Motels, because the largest number of reviews of the film were favorable, but the people who were the audience for the film - the kids - don't see film criticism in the papers they read. Most of the things they read about 200 Motels said "Well, that's not quite hip enough for us here at Rolling Stone." That sort of shit. And so the overall lasting print of what was written about 200 Motels was negative. But that's not really important because we have most of the reviews which came out world-wide, and I would say 2/3 of them were favorable.

A Matter of Taste by Rob Fixmer
Bugle American, December 17, 1975


The broadcast edit of Frank Zappa filmt 200 Motels features no interview footage of Motorhead Sherwood or Jimmy Carl Black. Zappa's own True Story Of 200 Motels release does feature what appears to be mute footage of Jimmy Carl Black being interviewed and shots of Motorhead Sherwood playing pool.

Friday, January 29 1971

Day 2 of the shoot.

Saturday, January 30 1971 - Sunday, January 31 1971

No chance of the crew at Pinewood sacrificing their weekend but it's more than likely that Zappa and Palmer used the break to refine the script based on the schedule so far.

Monday, February 1 1971

Day 3 of the shoot. The third day's shooting schedule is actually visible underneath the end credits of 200 Motels and makes for interesting reading (and would be even more interesting if Tony Palmer hadn't screwed up the remastering and cut a huge chunk off either side and top and bottom of the screen. Nevertheless, what's left of the picture can just about be read, if you mess about with overlay options...

The front page of the shooting schedule features the following information:

Quote:
200 MOTELS

SHOOTING SCHEDULE NO. 3

Please note that the following Scenes have been completed.
8. 17. 20. 24. 30. 32. 36. 40. 43. 46. 47. 50.
51. 53. 54. 55. 57. 59. 61. 63. 71. 81. 82

Please note that the following Scenes have been deleted:
10. 12. 13. 16. 56.


So by the morning of the third day of a seven-day shoot, 23 scenes had been completed and 5 scenes had been dropped. This being from a shooting script of 101 scenes. It's probably fair to say they were a little behind schedule at this point.

Going by Charles Ulrich's list on the Information Is Not Knowledge site, the scenes dropped from the schedule at this point were:

Scenes 10, 12, 13, 16: all parts of the 'WHAT'S THE NAME OF YOUR GROUP' suite. Only Scene 10 is namechecked, as 'INSTRUMENTAL TO ACCOMPANY VIENNA SEQUENCE Group. Orchestra'. Doubtless this would mostly have involved the recording of music for the sequence of old film footage mentioned in an earlier interview.

Scene 56: actually the final scene in the 'PLEATED GAZELLE' sequence. In the finished film only the first two sections - 'Motorhead's Midnight Ranch' and 'Dew On The Newts We Got' were omited (and the VPRO documentary at least shows the first of these being filmed). The final section, 'A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes' is in the film, so unless there was a change of heart later and the scene was reinstated, it's likely that 'Scene 56' is an unfamilar scenario rather than a musical piece.

The completed Scenes meanwhile...

Scene 8: Appears in the middle of the 'WHAT'S THE NAME OF YOUR GROUP' sequence (Scenes 5-9 and 11-16). This may well be the piece shown in the VPRO documentary with Phyllis Bryn-Julson narrating. In the finished film, only two sections made it - the 'Dance of the Rock n' Roll Interviewers' (a ballet showing a gaggle of journos attacking a dummy of Zappa), and an un-named piece which continues in much the same vein, with a female interviewer.

Scene 17: (Not listed but comes between 'WHAT'S THE NAME OF YOUR GROUP?' and 'WENT ON THE ROAD'. Most likely a narrative/dialogue section.

Scene 20: (Not listed but comes between 'WENT ON THE ROAD' and 'CENTERVILLE'. This may well be the scene which introduces Rance Muhammitz to the group (which appears, after a fashion, in the movie). A note in the CD booklet suggests it occurs around this point. Also worth noting is that the 1970 live versions of 'Went On The Road' (AKA 'Holiday In Berlin', AKA 'Would You Like A Snack'?) often boasted a middle-section where Volman and Kaylan chanted the band-in-joke phrase "Rance Muhammitz" repeatedly. On the fly-on-the-wall footage in the VPRO documentary we get to see footage of the Scene being filmed - during which Rance suggests that his sudden appearance in their midst on the fake stage is as a result of them 'calling' him. In other words, the old speak-of-the-devil-and-he-shall-appear standby. Note that Cowboy Burt later inadvertently summons Rance in the same manner by calling out "Opal, you hot little bitch!" As Rance/The Devil explains, "I'm known by many names..."

Also note that the dialogue above suggests that the Scene in the Fake Nightclub where Rance explains to Jimmy Carl Black, Don Preston and Motorhead Sherwood what they'll be doing in the movie has already taken place. This kind of makes sense in terms of the original chronology of the script since those scenes either lead into or are surround by the 'What's The Name Of Your Group' suite.

Scene 24: Part of the 'THIS TOWN IS A SEALED TUNA SANDWICH' sequence (Scenes 22 - 28). Of this suite of songs only 'The Sealed Tuna Bolero' made it to the film - although it's likely that footage shot of 'The Dance of the Just Plain Folks' featured as part of this. In its original form it was a choreographed ballet but the edited sequence performs a lot of video effects - including loops and varispeeding - to make it match the song.

Scene 30: (Not listed but comes straight after 'LONESOME COWBOY BURT', therefore almost certainly the scene between Rance Muhammitz and Burt.

Scene 32: Listed as 'MYSTERY ROACH'. Given all the information elsewhere this must surely be the Hotel Room scene (which indeed began with a bluesey, laid-back acoustic performance of that song - as seen in the VPRO documentary).

Scenes 36, 40, 43, 46, 47, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55: All parts of 'THE PLEATED GAZELLE'.

Scene 57, 59, 61, 63: All parts of 'SHOVE IT RIGHT IN'. (Most likely the band performances, filmed on the Fake Stage rather than the orchestral sequences.)

Scene 71 CANNED MUSIC - WHAT WILL THIS EVENING [BRING ME THIS MORNING?] (Difficult to say what this is. The term 'Canned Music' could either refer to the fact that the version of the song used in the film is an old recording from 1970 or simply that it was recorded on the Fake Stage for use as background music over a Scene rather than intended as a filmed 'performance' in its own right. In terms of where it's placed in the script it's likely that the song would have been playing when the band entered the Fake Nightclub - ie a Scene which would have kicked off 'What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are', and the rest of the Groupie Opera. In the event, the latter was dropped and all that remains in the film is a truncated Nightclub scene which doesn't lead to anything. The song playing over this is 'Daddy Daddy Daddy'.)

Scene 81 MAGIC FINGERS

Scene 82 SOUNDLY ABOUT THE TITS AND BUTTOCKS

Tuesday, February 2 1971

Day 4 of the shoot. A great deal (if not all) of Roelof Kiers' on-set documentary for VPRO covers this date. In hindsight it's curious that this was even allowed since Zappa had stipulated that no press should be allowed on-set.

It would appear that the day began with the shooting of the topless groupies / OD-ing nun scene. The date is confirmed by the clapperboard seen in-shot (which describes it as 'Visual 57') and the time of day can be indicated from an announcement from a stage manager which blurts over the tannoy (while Zappa suggests - to an unsmiling Tony Palmer - that the Nun should make "secondary lunge" at Janet Ferguson's breasts):

Quote:
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
I'll just go through that once more, we're starting on 57, filming in the Groupies' room - where the cameras are now - and then the orchestra comes in at ten o'clock, and we record the orchestra. Also, the pick-up shots of Scenes 61, 62, 63 and 64 and 38. Thank you very much.


As previously mentioned, Scene 57 is noted in the Charles Ulrich list as being the first of ten scenes which cover the 'Shove It Right In' musical medley.

It is presumed that the orchestra were at least in the building from 9am and that the reference to them coming in at 10am above simply referred to them taking their seats.

Scenes 61 - 64 are part of the 'Shove It Right In' suite so it's probably fair to assume that the 'pick-up shots' mainly involved footage of the Groupies and intended to augment already-completed shots of the Mothers playing the main 'She Painted Up Her Face' track on the Fake Bandstand and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing the orchestral sequences. These would include the shot of the dummy Janet suddenly flying up into the air (while Janet herself reacted with astonishment), 'Janet's Big Dance Number', Lucy Offerall's topless bathroom jig, etc. In other words it was elected to capture all the scenes which involved Janet, Lucy or the Groupies' house in one neat block. On a few occasions during on-set interviews in the documentary (notably with producer Jerry Goode) we hear incomplete snatches of 'Lucy's Seduction' - most likely a tape playback while parts of that scene were being captured to VT.

Scene 38 meanwhile is part of The Pleated Gazelle suite. The VPRO docu shows 'Motorhead's Midnight Ranch' being filmed (a scene which didn't make it to the film) so it's likely that this was Scene 38.

The orchestral recordings may also have comprised of the Philharmonic sections of the same suite - 'Janet's Dance Number' and 'Lucy's Seduction of a Bored Violinist'.

Also filmed is the infamous 'Scene 32' set in the motel room with a great deal of material which was eventually edited out of the film. Roelof Kiers' cameras mainly filming the scene as it's being fed live to the VT monitors, thus giving a pretty good indication of how it would have looked on the screen.

In the background of the scene is a large white caption card with black writing on it (also slightly visible in the finished film). It isn't possible to read what's written on the card, although an interview Zappa gave to the Old Grey Whistle Test sometime in February (broadcast on November 16 1971) explains what it was about:

Quote:
INTERVIEWER
Um, having looked through the script, I noticed you've used quite a lot of stylised devices like, er, having people holding up cue cards which the actors read their lines from - and you can see the cue cards on the screen I think - and you use backdrops, er, consciously. Why have you used this sort of device?

ZAPPA
Well the only time that a 'cue card' occurs in the film is when several members of the group get 'credit for special material'. That's the only time we use that.

The Old Grey Whistle Test
BBC2, November 16 1971


It's possible that the infamous scene where Ringo chases the Nun through the orchestra pit and attempts to goose him with the magic lamp was filmed today.

Tony Curtis, also filming at Pinewood at the time (fro the ITC TV series The Persuaders!) visits the 200 Motels set. Keith Moon chats with him. Sadly, no cameo ensued.

Wednesday, February 3 1971

Day 5

Thursday, February 4 1971

Day 6 of the shoot. The CD booklet states that today parts of 'The Pleated Gazelle', 'Penis Dimension' and 'Strictly Genteel' were captured today. An on-set interview with Keith Moon by Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker (published, alongside another on-set piece by Michael Watts, in the February 1971 issue) confirms 'Penis Dimension' for that day at least, while the paperwork underneath the end credits gives a full list of the scenes filmed (see below).

The CD booklet also reveals that the morning shoot was the final day for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Melody Maker article also notes that Keith Moon arrived late for the shoot - owing to a mix-up on the part of his chauffeur who thought it was his day off (the driver being Peter 'Chalky' Chalkley, namechecked in the Bonzos' 'The Bride Stripped Bare by Batchelors' - and this presumably explains why he's the only notable cast member absent from the 'Strictly Genteel' finale!

As has been liberally reported, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - as a comical 'protest' at having to play Frank Zappa's music - marked the close of their contribution to the seven-morning shoot by simultaneously tearing off and destroying their tuxedos (costumes which were apparently under hire for the production). VPRO footage of the event features in The True Story of 200 Motels. The latter also shows Keith Moon present in his nun costume so he most likely arrived just in time for lunch. Either way, he's present for the shooting of 'Penis Dimension'. The article however alludes to a slight delay in mounting this sequence while 'a dance number' is being filmed (almost certainly the 'Pleated Gazelle' sequences).

The sections of 'Penis Dimension' filmed today comprise mainly of the processional march through the town flanked by extras dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan (with members of the band, Ringo, Moon and the two groupies holding flaming torches). This is one of the few sections of the film which relied solely on playback for the music and vocals, with Volman and Kaylan miming to a session completed previously. This is edited, pretty seemlessly, into the dialogue section of the song which was also filmed prior to this date (Note that, as Kaylan finishes his little whistling interlude he's suddenly wearing a hat - while Volman is no longer in drag and wears a T-shirt). Close-up shots of the orchestra are also evident through the colour-key of these scenes so it's likely that the whole song was recorded (and filmed) live with the orchestra on a previous date, with the 'Procession' initially regarded as a straight pick-up to be used as a link from the Groupie Opera sequence.

'Penis Dimension', as it appears in the film, links from the scene in the Groupies house (with Keith Moon as the Hot Nun wailing about how he's going to O.D.). As scripted however the song was supposed to follow the culmination of the seduction scene between Howard Kaylan and the groupie played by Mark Volman. Note that, at the start of the piece, Volman appears in a blonde wig, black bra and suspenders (as such we must assume that said seduction was going pretty well!).

The 'Groupie Opera' itself hadn't been filmed at this stage however - and with only one day of the shoot remaining it must have seemed pretty unlikely to the production team that they'd manage it.

A production sheet revealed underneath the credits of 200 Motels appears to feature info about today's shoot.

Quote:
Sc. Nos Shot To-day:

33. 34. 35. 37. 39. 45. 60. 100. 101. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 99.
67. 48. 49. 63. 65


Scenes 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 45, 48 and 49 are all parts of 'The Pleated Gazelle' and would have been completed during the morning shoot with the orchestra and chorus. Scenes 60, 63 and 65 are parts of 'Shove It Right In'. Scenes 100 and 101 comprise 'Strictly Genteel' (and its attendant 'Finale'). Scenes 84 - 87 are the entirety of 'Penis Dimension' (so the whole thing with the orchestra must have been recorded on this day too). Scene 67 may be the scene where the band sits at the make-up tables (while Ringo narrates).

Scene 99 meanwhile is the final section of 'I'm Stealing The Room'. The visual finale of that sequence (ie the real-life 'Jeff' freaking out in his hotel room) will actually be filmed the following day (confirmed by the Melody Maker on-set descriptions). What was recorded today therefore may either be a first attempt at mounting that sequence or possibly even either part of the orchestral score or the Top Score Singers' vocals for such.

Friday, February 5 1971

The seventh and final day of shooting. Michael Watts from Melody Maker writes a detailed report from the set (and wrap party) which is published, alongside Chris Charlesworth's 'Blue Moon' in the February 13 issue.

Scene 21 ('Centerville') is filmed. Melody Maker reports that Lucy Offerall pulls a moody as the scene is being set up because she believes no-one will see her through the Rancid Boutique store front (a belief which appears to be justified in terms of the final edit, which concentrates entirely on the main 'Centerville' ballet and doesn't cover the Boutique at all). Assistant Director David Alexander reminds her she's being paid and she duly gets into the role.

Quote:
Scene 21, Take Four, is the scene that manages to make it past Tony and David to the actual videotape. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, vocalists with The Mothers are walking into Centerville. I say walking; rather, it is a curious stylised shuffling that gives them the appearance of clockwork figures. Centerville - real nice place to raise your kids," they say in these very stylised, zombie-like voices. "Liquor stores! Rancid boutiques!" They gaze around in stylised appreciation.

A vicar walks down Main Street, his hands clasped piously together. Drunks topple out of the liquor store. A policeman strolls up and down, swinging his night-stick. A schoolmarm steps out very primly, her nose in the air. A girl in a white party frock and a kid in a cowboy suit zigzag in and out of these characters in playful pursuit of each other. Then, Volman and Kaylan close the scene by shuffling cut off-camera, their heads working mechanically up and down like dolls. Really, it seems a very stylised movie.

It all goes in the can and there is a break for coffee.

Zappa's Got A Brand New Bag
By Michael Watts, Melody Maker, February 13 1971


Although the article intimates that Take 4 is the most successful, it's clear that a few takes were combined for the final edit, and that alternate live visual effects were employed during the filming, with some takes favouring a hazy blurring (allowing Volman and Kaylan to leave electronic vapour trails in their shuffling wake), and others afflicted by a wild, ever-morphing black-and-white striped vortex. Not unnaturally it was the latter effect which had reviewers of the film scratching their heads and wondering how it was done.

After the afore-mentioned coffee break, Martin Lickert rehearses his hotel room freak-out scene, which here seems a little more detailed.

Quote:
He rises from his bed in a motel, The Mystery Roach clasped in his fingers. He begins to stagger, goes red in the face, clutches his throat, tries to hold onto the Venetian blinds, his body shakes, his hand is trembling, it's pointing to - a pile of white towels! Heavens! Then, in a mad, blind rush, he dives for the towels, scoops them up, and muttering hysterically, shoves the hotel ashtray into his briefcase. Oh, the drama!

Zappa's Got A Brand New Bag
By Michael Watts, Melody Maker, February 13 1971


The article also reports that two takes of the Fake Night Club scene ('Daddy Daddy Daddy' in the movie) are shot. Since the finished scene features a lot of montage it's likely that material from both takes were eventually used. Curiously, the scene still calls for Volman to drag up as a groupie, despite the subsequent 'Groupie Opera' scenes now having been dropped from the script.

Sections of Scene 29, 'Lonesome Cowboy Burt' scene are also filmed today - on the bar set. In the finished edit the footage shot today is intercut with close-up shots of Jimmy Carl Black et al from the straight live performance filmed on the Fake Stage earlier in the week (the VPRO documentary covers this performance). Today's shoot will therefore utelise the audio of the earlier performance as a straight playback.

As mentioned in the November 14 1970 interview with Miles, there is indeed a fake Western band in evidence in the bar footage. Don Preston tinkles at the piano while Motorhead Sherwood plays his fake groinal guitar from the Uncle Meat film (he's also still in drag from the Fake Night Club scene shot previously, suggesting that there was no time to whisk him off to wardrobe for more convenient apparel). However, although Ruth Underwood is just about detectable miming to the drums in the background in a couple of shots, most of the time the skins are being beaten by an expressionless Frank Zappa. Despite this, Ruth still gets a credit in some cast listings as 'Fake Drummer'.

The ensuing elaborate 'REDNECK EATS' ballet/fight scenes - as described to Miles - aren't in the film but the music appears on the soundtrack LP (theoretically this would have been pre-recorded and used as playback for those scenes anyway since the choreography was so complex). There is a bar fight scene at another point in the film (doubtless also filmed today since everyone's still in costume) but it clearly wasn't choreographed to fit in with the music (on the DVD commentary, Tony Palmer recalls his 'direction' for the scene was "Beat hell out of each other. I think a few of them took it a little literally!") so it's presumed this was just one of several compromised sequences shot on the final day to maintain 'continuity'.

Ian Underwood doesn't get to fall in love with Ruth, although he does get to do a Frankenstein's monster impression, creeping up on Don Preston in true Boris Karloff style and attempting to strangle him at the piano (while Ruth looks on from her drumkit).

Both the Melody Maker article and the CD booklet report that the final shots filmed before the production closed involved explosions as parts of the sets were blown up. Most likely originally conceived as pick-ups for the "We're gonna tear down the studio..." section of the Finale, the explosion footage will instead be used in a more oblique manner...

The CD booklet specifically namechecks 'Centerville Bank' as the target of the explosion, although Melody Maker reports (from the relative safety of a cleared soundstage) that two explosions are heard. This is confimed by the real-time footage used in the film which shows the front door of the bank exploding and then, a few feet away, a second detonation underneath the pinball machine at 'Redneck Eats'.

A third explosion showing the metal canisters at the Fake Nightclub bursting into flames kicks off (and bolsters) the footage which - to the strains of 'What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning' - forms a colour-keyed backdrop to a presumably unscripted scene showing the Industrial Vacuum Cleaner being attacked and stripped of his costume by Kaylan, Underwood, Duke and Volman (the latter still in his bra and fishnets from the 'Penis Dimension' shoot suggesting the attack was filmed as part of the previous day's schedule).

The CD booklet describes how the explosion shot 'did not at all go exactly as planned' (indeed, without the Nightclub explosion which preceeds it, it does look rather weedy), 'At 5:00PM precisely, the buzzer shouted, and time officially ran out." However, Raoul Pagel's article for Cinemeditor (Summer 1971) suggests that an extra half-hour was added to this final day to complete necessary filming.

MM reported that the wrap party began the moment the filming ended.
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pbuzby
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Post 2012-01-01 20:18   [Quote] 
yetanother wrote:
Anyway, I still think it was all about the music - the whole movie was an absurd pretext to have his music recorded by a real symphony orchestra, so as long as he got at least some of the music on tape, the rest was easy to figure out...


He seemed to find tour stories and especially that first Flo & Eddie lineup pretty fascinating though, especially considering that he later devoted much of a two CD set to that topic.
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