What this gave them was a a wonderful sense of freedom. So when Rob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson wanted to make a Monkees movie, the band were happy to let the do whatever they wanted. They no longer cared abou
The results were very strange indeed. Head is a bizarre mix of music video,
Of course much of it doesn’t work, but that’s part of its charm. What’s surprising though is that a good deal of it does work, in its own strange way. Sudden switches from horrific war scenes to concert footage to sequences in which the band play the role of dandruff in Victor Mature’s hair and get sucked into a gigantic vacuum cleaner, and then suddenly the boys are in a western movie until they become bored and walk straight through the scenery which turns out to
The political elements are the least successful, as you’d expect in a late 60s movie. Fortunately they’re not overdone, and the overall tone is an odd mix of whimsy and weirdness. Despite their perennial frustration with not being taken seriously the band is happy to make fun of its own teeny-bopper image, because it simply no longer mattered.
This is a Monkees movie without any hit songs, because by this time they didn’t have any hit songs any more. But in fact the music isn’t bad at all. By this stage they were writing a lot of their own material and the film includes a couple of acid-rock songs written by Peter Tork that are actually a good deal better than much of the embarrassingly pompous drug-addled acid-rock that was being churned out at the time by bands who really were taken se
And Mike Nesmith’s Circle Sky demonstrates that Nesmith was already a very accomplished somg-writer. The great irony of The Monkees’ career was always the fact that they were a great band if only you could get past the bubblegum-pop image.
To appreciate Head you’ll certainly need a fair degree of tolerance for off-the-wall experimental 1960s film-making and you’ll need a certain degree of fondness for the band as well. But if you can manage those two things you’ll find this to be an unexpectedly intriguing little movie.
The DVD release is a bit disappointing - it’s fullscreen and very very grainy, although given the mixture of concert and documentary footage used in addition to newly shot scenes some of the graininess may well be intentional.