America’s most successful pop group The Monkees – Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork – fractured their cheeky TV image (and anticipated much of MTV’s self-deprecatory style) with this insane collage of surreal sketches and visual jokes to make arguably the quintessential 60s movie.
Co-written by director Bob Rafelson (who had been the brains behind the Monkees concept) and LSD-inspired Jack Nicholson, it’s all dippy philosophising (“nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humour”) and wacky sketches with a mind-blowing gallery of Sixties icons – including Annette Funicello, Timothy Carey, Sonny Liston and Frank Zappa.
The movie also produced The Monkees’ best album, proving they really could write their own tunes. Unfortunately, Head also effectively buried the band as a going concern.
The fanbase from their TV series was too young to “get” the film (and with some disturbing anti-Vietnam war imagery and the druggy counter-culture atmosphere, it really wasn’t made for them) and the baffling nature of the picture was hardly likely to win them too many new fans beyond those who already had a psychedelic bent – or just a love of strange cinema.
But The Monkees knew it was already just about over for them anyway and didn’t really care anymore.
Officer Faye Lapid