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Thread: Frank Zappa: 200 Motels

  1. #51
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    My name is Burt, I am a redneck...

  2. #52
    Tony Palmer releases 200 Motels yet again... Hope the DVD doesn't suck this time around.

    Judging from the track list, the master for the soundtrack may be identical to the 1997 Ryko edition (it didn't sound great).
    Last edited by unclemeat; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:43 AM.

  3. #53
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    Jan 2013
    Good to know that this album will be coming out again in some form...but hopefully it has a widespread release.

  4. #54
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    I'm really wary of this. "This is for the first time these masters have ever being used." What language is that translated from? Palmer's previous DVD issue was also billed as "Restored from the original sources" and it was a terrible hack job. And does he really have the rights to issue the music on CD? I would love to see a properly handled DVD release of the film, but I'll wait and see...not gonna pre-order.

  5. #55
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    Nov 2013
    Moscow, RF
    200 Motels was my introduction to Zappa, and it had happened very well.

  6. #56
    re Genesis In Concert (and I'm sorry I only just saw this today)

    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    The very fact that the 1976 film is only 40 minutes long (iirc) may be taken to indicate that there wasn't much more that was deemed to be usable. I hope I'm wrong, but isn't this a weird format ?
    It's interesting how short the ELP, Yes, and Genesis concert films of that era are. Pictures At An Exhibition was filmed during the very first ELP tour, so it's understandable that they probably didn't have much more to the setlist at the time (I think they were just doing Rondo, The Nutrocker, and The Barbarian and Knife-Edge besides).

    But Genesis In Concert and Yessongs were both filmed on tours where the respective band was regularly playing a 2 hour long performance, but Yessongs is around 70 minutes long, as you note, Genesis In Concert is only about 45 minutes. By contrast, The Grateful Dead Movie and The Song Remains The Same are each over 2 hours long, while The Last Waltz is around 116 minutes.

    Maybe the distributors and/or investors of the Yes and Genesis films weren't willing to go along with something that more accurately reflected what the respective band was doing onstage at the time. Maybe neither band were considered "big" enough to warrant a feature length a concert movie, in the minds of whomever it was who had the power to make those kind of decisions. Yessongs at least has a Close To The Edge itself in it's entirety (and And You And I, in it's entirety), whereas the two big numbers in the Genesis film are cut in half. Given the shot of the guy in the audience cradling his apparently dozing girlfriend during the Apocalypse climax, maybe Tony Maylam decided that "Nobody's going to sit through a 24 minute song". (shrug)

    Given how popular The Song Remains The Same was on the Stateside "midnight madness" movie circuit, complete with it's interminable intro (it takes something like 15 minutes for the film to get to the band onstage), yawn inducing interludes in between the songs (e.g. Peter Grant whining about bootleg merchandise being sold out the venue in Baltimore, the two guys trying to sneak into the concert, the bit with the mounted policeman, etc), and let's not forget...what is it?, a 10 MINUTE version of Moby Dick (I repeat, a TEN MINUTE DRUM SOLO!), one suspects anyone who thought Supper's Ready was "too long" for a concert movie or that "nobody's going to sit through a 2 hour long concert movie" was underestimating a movie audience's patience with such things (or perhaps, Maylam, his backers and/or distributors simply didn't consider or know about the US midnight movie circuit...did it even exist in 1976?!).

    I hadn't really rationalised the reason why non-concert footage was inserted, outside of the "people will find it boring when there's no singing" argument. I hadn't considered lighting issues. Still, I don't imagine the "Cinema Show" instrumental extravaganza occurred in pitch darkness ?
    If what we do see of the band during The Cinema Show is any indication, no, it would appear they weren't performing under the cover of darkness during that part of the song. I think in that case, it was simply, as you say, someone deciding that it would be boring to watch without "something" added to the mix. The truth is, Tony Banks is a pretty static live performer, you don't get the visual dynamism of a Hendrix, Townshend, Moon, or even Emerson. No keytar, no leaping over or wrestling with the organ, no standing facing the audience with each hand on a keyboard on either side of the musician, etc. Rutherford, Bruford and Collins appear to be a bit animated in the segments of the piece we see, but the focal point would have been on the soloist, and well, conventional logic dictates that this particular soloist is "boring to watch".

    I still wish there was something we could do so that we could see the footage that was shot that's never been released. Would love to know exactly what exists.
    Last edited by GuitarGeek; 1 Week Ago at 01:09 PM.

  7. #57
    From :
    "As well as a second DVD of concert material specially edited by Tony Palmer, I understand there’s a possibility of third ‘making of’ documentary disc."
    Last edited by unclemeat; 1 Week Ago at 07:35 AM.

  8. #58
    Someone posted this e-mail from Tony Palmer on the Zappateers website :

    "A lot of questions there !!
    Briefly, the source material we will be using for the new DVD will be more or less the same as we used before (see below).
    But don't forget the original was 2" analogue tape, and in 4:3 NTSC, the American line standard, all shot in 1970 !!!
    It was transferred to film at that time, for the simple reason that no-one (i.e. no cinema) could show videotape, let alone in the US line standard.
    And also videotape of that vintage was not thought to be stable, and how right was that suspicion (see below).
    We did correct the aspect ration to 16:9 because a) wide screen did not exist in 1970; b) I'm sure we would have shot it in 16:9 had it existed; & c) that's what the distributors wanted.
    So we've used the same source material, in spite of the tape being in increasingly poor condition.
    But the technology has improved hugely in the last few years, so we are confident the end result will look better.
    We'll stick to 16:9 for the reasons given above.
    The concert DVD is a separate event disc. As far as we can tell, it is a concert given in Germany in 1974, but later 'edited' by Frank, and given to us by Frank's manager before he died.
    As for BlueRay, if only..........But we would need to make huge sales to justify the cost of producing a Blu Ray.
    Unless you're releasing Harry Potter, making Blu Rays is not really cost effective.
    But go shout at the distributor; I'm on your side !!!
    I hope this answers some of your questions.
    TONY P "


  9. #59
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    We'll stick to 16:9 for the reasons given above.
    So the fucked-up, horizontally stretched and brutally cropped image is here to stay. Good to know.

    Good analysis of what's wrong with Palmer's previous DVD:

  10. #60
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Does he really have any other options?

  11. #61
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Fluffy Cloud
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    1.So the fucked-up, horizontally stretched and brutally cropped image is here to stay. Good to know.

    2.Good analysis of what's wrong with Palmer's previous DVD:

    Agreed re 1 and thank you for the amazing article re 2.
    Steve F.

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  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Does he really have any other options?
    The article linked to above indicates that a different/better print from the original MGM negative was being shown in theaters in 2009. I'd think that could be transferred relatively easily with today's technology.

    My take is that these DVD releases are either bootlegs or just this side of being bootlegs. It may be that it's too much trouble for the various rightsholders to go after Tony Palmer on this one, especially given the complexities of the ownership on this one.

    In any event, I always found 200 Motels to be an unwatchable mess...and I'm a huge Zappa fan. Frank had talent as a visual artist (he dabbled in that beginning in his teenage years), but coherent film presentation was beyond his talents. His control-freak tendencies wouldn't allow him to defer to people more talented in that area, I'm sure.


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