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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:50 am 
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Those of you who bought that "unofficial" version that snuck into the shops a year or two ago - aren't you glad you did, now?!
It was dubbed from a VHS and mastered slightly too slow, but...at least it was complete! Better that than the loss of even a few seconds of dialogue!
And Tony Palmer, you may be a right-wing jerk but you could at least have made the effort to get your facts straight about the performers in your own film!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:50 pm 
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cyst-array wrote:
It was dubbed from a VHS and mastered slightly too slow, but...at least it was complete! Better that than the loss of even a few seconds of dialogue!


In fact it was most likely mastered at the correct speed - at least in terms of replicating the speed of cinema showings. I've theorised about this elsewhere but if they were shooting on PAL video - at 25 frames per second - and had to transfer that that to 35mm - at 24 frames per second - then the only way that would have been possible would be to slow everything down by about 4%.

Ironically, this means the only way to officially see 200 Motels at its correct performance speed is to acquire a PAL VHS or watch a European TV broadcast (since the PAL method of telecine involves speeding everything up from 24 to 25 fps - while NTSC manages to keep to something approaching the original speed by spreading everything over 29.97 fps using half-frames and elastic bands).

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And Tony Palmer, you may be a right-wing jerk but you could at least have made the effort to get your facts straight about the performers in your own film!


I'm in the middle of writing a long illustrated article about everything that's wrong with this release. Until then, a couple of quick points...

a) The missing bits - if anyone hasn't already guessed, they're missing because he's used a copy of a damaged theatrical print as his source. The missing bits occur during reel change points (and have evidently snapped at some point).

b) There really is no way to watch this on a conventional player and see it in its proper dimensions. The only way of managing it is to bypass the DVD info files completely and import the actual VOBs into VirtualDub or something. I guessed correctly before - the 4:3 picture has been cropped to NTSC 720x480

c) He's lopped off the MPAA logo and the very beginning of the title sequence to remove the Murakami Wolf/Bizarre credit - and slowed down the Super 8 footage to cover this up. Despite that, the opening theme still cuts in too late with a bump. And - as mentioned earlier - he's cropped the picture during the title caption, again, to remove the Murakami Wolf/Bizarre credit.

d) I've already posted this over at Zappateers, but... Here's Tony Palmer (who claims to be proud of the film, to have written the script, done the editing - and remained friends with Zappa) back in 1971 - disowning the film and insisting Zappa wrote the script and did the editing:

The Observer, November 7 1971 wrote:
Zappa and the Rainbow

POP
TONY PALMER

OFTEN, the tattiest of films hides the most original of pop music scores. Since the extraordinary success of 'Easy Rider,' whose sound-track album almost outgrossed the film itself, production companies have been falling over themselves to sign up likely pop stars in the hope that the next tuneless ditty they pen will guarantee the commercial viability of an otherwise indifferent movie.

This process has been carried to its logical conclusion by United Artists who, a year ago, financed a whole 98-minute feature film out of the estimated record advances of its three-album sound track. Unfortunately, what resulted is one of the worst films in the entire history of the cinema, a criticism which I can confidently assert since I was responsible in part for its direction. Unfortunately, also, the film - '200 Motels' - is so bad that a great deal of what might be quite inventive pop music may go down the same drain. Much of this music is released this week on a double album, also called 'Frank Zappa's 200 Motels' (UDF 50003).

Scored for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mothers of Invention and assorted groupies, the music first attracted attention in Britain last February when the Albert Hall banned a concert performance of excerpts from it on the grounds that it was obscene, sacriligious or both. Lest anyone should think that this puts it in the same category as 'The Rite of Spring,' and other causes celebres, let me hasten to reassure you that, despite its many qualities, '200 Motels' is a musical hotch-potch of every known cliche, plus a few more yet to be invented.

The large orchestra, for example, contains a seven-man percussion section, each member of which is sometimes required to play two separate rhythms simultaneously, thus making a total of 14 tinkles and bangs. The combined effort is an unmitigated jangle, in which it is frequently impossible to discern any sense or sensibility. Satire is held to be the general excuse, although satire of what it is never made clear.

Individual performers, however, rescue the score from its otherwise muddled texture. Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, one time with The Turtles, have never been in more persuasive voice, and Aynsley Dunbar confirms that he is the most reliable rock drummer around. Zappa, who besides writing all the music and words, edited the film, directed the actors and wrote the script, plays well, even if derivatively. Still, you will be able to judge for yourself when Zappa and the Mothers play some of the music in an English tour beginning on 10 December at London's newest pop forum, the Rainbow Theatre.

Situated in the Seven Sisters Road, the Rainbow opened last Thursday with a devastating concert by The Who. It has been converted from the old 3,000-seat Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park and, according to its promoters, is the first permanent home for pop music in Britain. That begs, of course, the question whether pop needs any permanent home, in any but the geriatric sense. But if classical music has its Royal Festival Hall, it's reasonable that pop should have its equivalent, especially a building as cavernaous and quaint as the Astoria. Built in 1930, its interior is art deco gone crazy. A huge proscenium span is surmounted by a walled Spanish villa complete with lions (lions in Spain?) and the whole is dominated by a ceiling of twinkling little stars. If for nothing else, the 75-strong Rainbow management should be thanked for preserving this architectural monster.

Fortunately, there is much else. Judging from the first concert, the acoustics seem well suited to pop music - loud and vulgar. A back-projected light-show, better than any yet seen in England, provides the backcloth, although in the Astoria it seemed unnecessarily dwarfed by the Spanish villa. A large mobile stage has been constructed to facilitate and speed up equipment changes between acts, usually the bane of most pop concerts.

John Morris, its boss, is a 32-year-old American with experience in organising the now defunct Fillmore East Auditorium in New York, and the even more profitable Woodstock Festival. He hopes that Rainbow, being free of the petty-minded restrictions that govern many of London's other concert-halls, will develop a unique form of entertainment which, although primarily concerned with pop, can include much else.


...and some quotes from subsequent Zappa interviews which allude to the above:

Sounds, November 27 1971:

Quote:
FRANK ZAPPA is pretty pleased with his first movie, "200 Motels". Ask how he feels about it now that it's all finished and he'll say: "I think it turned out pretty good." Tell him that British pop pundit Tony Palmer, who worked on the film, thinks it's the worst pop film he's seen, and he'll say: "That's quite a distinction. But then he's such a controversial little rascal."

Ask him if he can see any reason for Palmer to describe it that way, and he says: "Self publicity for himself perhaps?" It's not so much arrogance, it's a strong belief in what he's doing, and as he says, he does things for people to enjoy, not for critics to write about.


Time Out, December 17 1971:

Quote:
Would you use Tony Palmer again?

No I don't think so.

Did you have a lot of difficulty?

Well, yes.

He left and came back?

Yes.

Did you read the review he wrote?

I've read three reviews that he wrote. I at one time considered him to be a friend. I found his behaviour very strange.

He wanted to impose his own ideas on the film?

Yeah. But it was quite inappropriate for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that most of the cast was amateur and they were also my friends, and they were also people saying dialogue that I had written, based on the way they talked. He didn't know these people, so how could he possibly expect to tell them how and what and who to express what was in there - he didn't know what it was supposed to be. I mean, in some of the interviews and articles that he's written, he says 'I don't know what it's all about, I never knew what it was all about - will somebody tell me what it's all about, it's shitty' and all the rest of the stuff. Well, from that standpoint, how could he expect to instruct the cast in what to do?

How did you come to use him in the first place?

Well I've known him for a couple of years. The first time I met him was in '67 when he did an interview with me in New York for the pop film 'All My Loving', and I did another interview when I came over in '68, and we'd had dinner a few times and he showed me some video to 35mm transfer that he'd done. I was quite impressed with it and I figured, well, at least he's had some experience in this regard.

For him to disavow all association with it is stupid, and I think for what he did in the film, he did a good job on it.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Sigh. I want this. What the hell is up with all the confusion behind 200 motels?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:13 am 
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I think this covers everything:

http://www.sotcaa.net/editnews/200-Motels-On-DVD.html


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:27 am 
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sotcaadotnet wrote:


Wow, that's exhaustive.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:52 pm 
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sotcaadotnet wrote:

Wow, thanks for that. What a piece of garbage. Looks like I still have a reason to hang onto my VHS.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:51 am 
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That article is very well done. Somebody has really REALLY studied 200 Motels.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:57 pm 
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For as exciting as it is that 200 MOTELS is finally available on DVD, the best way to see it is on 35mm film with a live audience...now is your chance, and it may be your last!

HERE: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=19502


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 Post subject: Re: the commentary
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 8:20 am 
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I got the DVD, watched film with commentary. Tony Palmer wants to have it both ways -- won't renounce his decision to wipe the tapes of this "rubbish", back then, but wants us to believe he enjoyed remastering it. Also, claims ideas as his own, including the use of the animation to get more message across without awkward dialog or soliloquies. Then, he remembers himself and gives Zappa the credit after all.

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 Post subject: Re: the commentary
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:13 pm 
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Clem wrote:
I got the DVD, watched film with commentary. Tony Palmer wants to have it both ways -- won't renounce his decision to wipe the tapes of this "rubbish", back then, but wants us to believe he enjoyed remastering it.


Palmer didn't actually wipe the tapes though. Gail Zappa apparently overheard him threatening to wipe them at some point during the production because he wasn't getting his own way. No more than an idle threat - which, if carried through, would have landed him in a lot of shit with United Artists!

Zappa reckoned it was producer Jerry Goode who actually ordered the uncut master tapes to be wiped and sold off as 'used stock' to balance the budget (managing to swell its coffers to a grand total of $4,000). Palmer now insists that this simply wouldn't have happened because the tape stock in question would be near-worthless - yet it was standard practice at the time to view expensive reels of Ampex 2" tape as a 'reusable resource'. There were between 25 and 30 reels in all - each containing about an hour of footage.

Mind you, Palmer's still claiming the tapes used on the DVD are 'original masters'.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:21 pm 
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The whole affair makes me shudder...

Meanwhile, PDXFilm.org got its hands on a print which played last year at The Library of Congress. It's playing one night only, June 12th at 11pm at the preeminent Cinema 21 in Portland, OR. Rated R, but otherwise all are welcome!

For more info on the screening, check out PDXFilm.org and to order tickets, go to cinema21.com and scroll down. Should be a great time and might be the last chance to see the film the way it was intended to be seen; ON FILM, WITH AN AUDIENCE, LATE AT NIGHT.

Tighten up your headband!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:20 pm 
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Ive bought and seen Mr. Palmer's version as well and i gotta say if i ever find the guy ima get my 18 bucks back!!

Now I've seen the movie on TCM twice when they played it and it looked and sounded FANTASTIC!! Does anyone know what version they are showing or where from they got it? It certainly wasn't 35 mm like this crap. I would gladly pay for a copy of that version. It is what should be on DVD!



Looks like crap!

Sounds worse!!

Scenes are straight up MISSING!!!!

i cant say im surprised that someone would try to take advantage of the market demand for this move. I'm just surprised I feel for it. I actually thought this thing was legit.

If you're thinking about buying this, SAVE YOUR MONEY!! Or better yet but something from Barfko and show the ZFT some monetary love.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:33 pm 
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It doesn't seem to be available anymore on Tony Palmer's website or Amazon or WaysideMusic (which is where I bought mine). Maybe someone got the message and it's been discontinued. Or maybe someone sued. There are a ton on eBay, though. Buyer beware.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:53 pm 
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i had the TCM version saved on my DVR, but it crapped out, and i had to get a new one, so i lost it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:58 pm 
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sotcaadotnet wrote:


Thanks for this excellent article. Saved me some money. Too bad we'll probably have to wait an eternity until they finally get this one right. :/


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:15 pm 
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Kyo wrote:
sotcaadotnet wrote:


Thanks for this excellent article. Saved me some money. Too bad we'll probably have to wait an eternity until they finally get this one right. :/


Yeah ... same here.

It's a shame that after all this, MGM is not doing anything about it. You would figure that the interest and the commotion would cause them to get this out quickly and in one piece, or ... better yet ... with bits that weren't there before ... and it would far more valuable than what Toni did.

I have to say that it is sad, that Toni had to put his name on the top like he did, when the work itself should, obviously, be much more important than the name. In that sense, it shows a certain amount of dis-respect and an attempt to cash in quickly before he can't ... hopefully ZFT and MGM can get this resolved quickly and give Toni his 10 cents and tell him to go home ... and cry, baby cry, because you were too hip to know what was going on around you, or perhaps too ripped to know the difference.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:25 am 
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Anyone happy Digital Versatile Disc is a thing of the past...


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:07 am 
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Maroual wrote:
Anyone happy Digital Versatile Disc is a thing of the past...



Do you mean the term Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) or the disc format which you can now find free in certain English newspapers?

I personally have always liked the expression Digital Versatile Disc, Costly Disc (CD)...and the list goes on..err

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:24 pm 
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diplomaticpermissiondeepi wrote:
Maroual wrote:
Anyone happy Digital Versatile Disc is a thing of the past...



Do you mean the term Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) or the disc format which you can now find free in certain English newspapers?

I personally have always liked the expression Digital Versatile Disc, Costly Disc (CD)...and the list goes on..err

Actually both of them are becoming obsolete.
But in the 200 Motels case, there is no specific need to use a HD format such as Blu-ray.
Maybe combining a DVD and a VOD or a Digital Download release would be the right way to go.
My 2 cents...


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:05 am 
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ursinator wrote:
Hi folks, as promised, here is the scan of my DVD. I found it about 1 or 2 years ago on the german branch of ebay. I never had a VHS of the film in my hands, but I guess, this should be the same film on disc without any changes, additons or even DVD-specials. The qaulity of sound and image are pretty good, so it doesn t seem to be a bootleg of any kind. I guess, the ownership of the copyright to this film seems to be completeley different to the usual Zappa stuff, that is under control of his family. So it seems to be easier to publish this movie by other people also in a regular way (like Tony Palmer maybe does now) without hurting any rights of the Zappa family. The vinyls of 200 Motels were also released for years by other companies than the other Zappareleases in those times. (Hope the imageupload works). CU 8)

Image


This be the version I just nabbed a copy off of Ebay....assumed it was a bootleg/unofficial release but had own doubts on that when received- this one been confirmed or not as legit? Either way, quick playback check would indicate decent enough video and/or SQ.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:57 pm 
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BloodSugar00 wrote:
This be the version I just nabbed a copy off of Ebay....assumed it was a bootleg/unofficial release but had own doubts on that when received- this one been confirmed or not as legit? Either way, quick playback check would indicate decent enough video and/or SQ.

I am almost certain this one is grey market, likely manufactured in Central or Eastern Europe.
At some point, I have seen it in big retail stores on the imported records shelves.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:50 am 
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Maroual wrote:
BloodSugar00 wrote:
This be the version I just nabbed a copy off of Ebay....assumed it was a bootleg/unofficial release but had own doubts on that when received- this one been confirmed or not as legit? Either way, quick playback check would indicate decent enough video and/or SQ.

I am almost certain this one is grey market, likely manufactured in Central or Eastern Europe. very curious
At some point, I have seen it in big retail stores on the imported records shelves.


Thanks for info Maroual- for whatever reason I hadn't come across term "grey market" before, but that definitely encapsulates what I thought it was or was trying to ascertain the existence of ie legal but unofficial. 8)

Btw, to be precise, I have non-digipak version (a quick google search returned that two variants of this grey market release exist ie digipak and standard).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:07 am 
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GailZ said somewhere that they don't own the rights to 200 Motels. Maybe everybody can buy the rights to release the movie for some time from the rights owner (is it United Artists ?). In this case it wouldn't be exactly a grey market release, cause no rights were violated. These editions aren't made with much love, compared to original products by the ZFT. But as long, as we can enjoy the movie, who would complain?!
P.S. actually found it on the site of MGM: http://www.mgm.com/view/movie/7/200-Motels/

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:25 am 
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ursinator wrote:
GailZ said somewhere that they don't own the rights to 200 Motels. Maybe everybody can buy the rights to release the movie for some time from the rights owner (is it United Artists ?). In this case it wouldn't be exactly a grey market release, cause no rights were violated. These editions aren't made with much love, compared to original products by the ZFT. But as long, as we can enjoy the movie, who would complain?!
P.S. actually found it on the site of MGM: http://www.mgm.com/view/movie/7/200-Motels/

This one has very likely nothing to do with a contract involving MGM.
There have been a few articles in the French newpapers about a case involving this release.
A French music store has been suspected - although not convicted - of selling pirated DVDs.
A weblog still mentions this strange story (see DVD pirates à la Fnac : les preuves !).
Sorry I will not translate the whole article.

But to summarize, it says that most of these low-cost DVDs were seemingly manufactured in ex-yugoslavia.
As well, you will likely not find any information about this company named Wow Corporation.
WOW is an acronym of « Way of Wizards », a book written by Tom Cross.
And the Wow Corporation logo is just a copy of the book cover drawing.
I guess the same probably goes for other mysterious labels (ROOM101, Masterplan, MC Records, Woodstock Tapes, Jazz Door, and so on...).
A SACEM officer (the biggest French association of authors) declared that these DVDs do not carry any manufacturer or distributor codes, and that in the corners of the videos you can often see logos barely blurred.
To conclude, the article describes a few cases (Jimi Hendrix, Bon Jovi, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin) which are obvious TV brodcasts that do not belong in any official videography.
But they could do the same with many others artists such as Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Queen, the Beatles, ABBA, etc.

These are just clues, but there are really great chances this is grey market.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:08 am 
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Very interesting. I of course only assumed, it could be some kind of lending the rights of release for some time/number of copies. In other cases it is very obvious, that it is a grey release, u can simply tell it by the bad quality of sound or image, for example the 88 band in Barcelona on DVD. I can imagine that at least Tony Palmer didn't commit some piratry in his own (seemingly bad) release, that is discussed above.

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