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Head [DVD] [1968]

Release Date:07/21/1998
The dark side of the Monkees arrives on DVD in a fun but fairly bare-bones package in Rhino Home Video's release of their trippy, stream-of-consciousness masterpiece Head. The first collaboration between Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson is well presented on this disc, highlighted by a remarkably sharp transfer and curiously powerful Dolby Digital two-channel audio mix. It's doubtful that Head has ever looked this good outside of its original theatrical release during the waning days of the band's initial popularity surge. Presented in full-frame format, the image is sharp and colorful throughout, though at times appears slightly dirty, with scratches and speckling from the source materials revealing the film's age even more so than its psychedelic imagery. These slight issues aside, the image remains for the most part clear of visual distortion and is remarkably colorful. The film's multi-layered, florid "Can You Dig It?" belly dancer sequence is a testament to the transfer's attractive skin tones and vivid display of colors. Even the stock footage in the early war sequence looks relatively clean. The audio is rich and full sounding, adequately filling the room with music and sound while healthily exercising the Dolby Digital two-channel audio scheme. Infrequent hints of overmodulation resulting in slight distortion are not too distracting and occur only in the most audio-intensive of scenes. Extra features on the disc are sorely lacking, except for seven trailers (three theatrical and four television spots), including an interesting and fun Portuguese trailer. Monkees' fans may wish for more features and what could have been a very interesting commentary track, though they will undoubtedly be satisfied with this attractive and thoughtfully remastered presentation.

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    The Monkees -- Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork -- didn't really enjoy being labelled the Prefab Four back when their TV series was all the rage in 1966. With the help and support of Bob Rafaelson (co-producer, co-writer and director) and Jack Nicholson (co-producer, co-writer, and, if you look closely, bit player), the Monkees expressed their displeasure over being packaged for popular consumption in the non sequitur masterpiece Head. At least, it seems that the film is an indictment of the merchandising of pop stars. It's hard to tell at times, because Head literally has no plot; it is instead a patchwork of loopy sight gags, instant parodies, "camp" cutups, musical numbers and wry inside jokes. Clips of such old movies as the 1934 Karloff-Lugosi epic The Black Cat pop up every so often, as does an impressive lineup of pop-culture icons: Victor Mature, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa (he's the one leading a cow) and Ray Nitschke, as well as such movie-trivia "answers" as Timothy Carey, Vito Scotti, Teri Garr, Percy Helton, Logan Ramsey, Carol Doda, and pre-Divine cross-dresser T.C. Jones. The best bits include a lengthy Golden Boy parody which does double duty as a lampoon of the network's efforts to create "personalities" for the individual Monkees, and a psychedelic buck-and-wing performed by Davy Jones. One gag, in which Micky Dolenz blows up a Coca Cola machine, is usually excised from TV showings. Head did zero business when it first came out thanks to poor distribution, but it has since become a fixture of midnight-movie showings and campus cinema classes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Peter Tork
      Peter Tork - Himself
    • Davy Jones
      Davy Jones - Himself
    • Micky Dolenz
      Micky Dolenz - Himself
    • Michael Nesmith
      Michael Nesmith - Himself
    • Annette Funicello
      Annette Funicello - Minnie

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.