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When this film was made the career of the Monkees was already in decline as their show had been cancelled and their music was no longer charting ('Porpoise Song' from the "Head" soundtrack got up to number 62 on Billboard). The group was tired of their squeaky clean image as the 'Pre-Fab Four', and they just wanted out. This film was conceived in an effort to reach out to more adult audiences, and to hasten their departure from the scenes as the prototype MTV 'boy band'. The film itself is a quirky, stream of consciousness movie that treads the line between anti-war statement film to over the top comedy in scenes where, for instance, they have to frolic on the scalp of Victor Mature (in a sequence known as 'dandruff') and are subsequently sucked into a giant vacuum cleaner by Victor Mature's hairdresser. There is no plot as such, but there is some redeeming social commentary such as when Frank Zappa tells Davy that he needs to work on his music more (but compliments his dancing, done with Toni Basil). At the end of the scene Frank Zappa's cow offers her opinion of the Monkees, in a scene that must be my favorite of the movie. Some of the music is great, with the Nesmith tune 'Circle Sky' getting top mention. It's a great song, filmed live in a scene designed to show how the boys had been devoured by their public image. Other musical numbers are a bit lacking, particularly 'Daddy's Song' and 'As We Go Along.' Highlights in the film are in the cameos. Not only do Toni Basil and Frank Zappa put in appearances, so do boxer Sonny Liston (who fights Davy), Terry Garr (who pleads to have poison sucked from her finger), Annette Funicello (who pleads tearfully with Davy in a love interest scene), and Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper in a cantina scene. Most peculiar of all credits are for writers and producers, namely longtime Monkees collaborator Bob Rafelson, and Jack Nicholson, who later collaborated on "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice", among other projects. There are also extras consisting of theatrical trailers, including one in Portuguese, and television ads for the film. The film was essentially not promoted, certainly didn't connect with the typical Monkee demographic, and was a disaster at the box office. This didn't trouble the band, as it gave them a clear path out, with Peter quitting very shortly after the movie was released. This is as unlike the Monkees TV show as can be imagined, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a trippy sixties flashback stranger than most any other. I was fortunate enough to see this in a theater, and have loved it ever since. I recommend the film to people who know about the Monkees or just think they do. I guarantee that it will shatter your preconceived notions of the band.

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RV4460 Head DVD (1968/The Monkees) $19.95 $17.99