I've been in touch with British director Tony Palmer. Palmer has directed a few notable documentaries and movies on rock music. One of those movies was Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, which was released in 1971. After a long wait, the movie will be released on DVD by the end of November, according to Tony Palmer himself. The DVD will be available to purchase on his site, www.tonypalmerdvds.com. The DVD can be played on all regions. The only thing I don't know is if the DVD will include bonus material or have a wide release on Amazon and other sties. We'll have to wait and see.
200 Motels isn't the movie for everybody. Critics didn't like it because of its sexual content and references. The movie almost received the X Rating but after editing the movie, it was rated R. For rock listeners and Zappa fans alike, the movie is a classic. The movie doesn't quite have a story but revolves around the theme of a band being on the road. The movie also stands out for its cast. Ringo Starr is in the movie as Larry the Dwarf and Frank Zappa! Zappa's line-up of the Mothers then consisted of Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan (aka Flo and Eddie) of the Turtles. Keith Moon is also in the movie, playing a nun. Even Frank's former drummer, Jimmy Carl Black, is in the movie. Frank Zappa himself isn't in the movie much as he was behind the scenes. The movie also had a soundtrack, which was performed mostly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Highlights in the movie? My personal favorite songs are the "rock band" oriented songs like "Mystery Roach", "She Painted Up Her Face", and "Magic Fingers". Jimmy Carl Black's number, "Lonesome Cowboy Burt", is hilarious. There are weirder (but funny) segments I like such as "Centerville" and the absolutely hilarious "Penis Dimensions", which sees Volman and Kaylan w/ the cast and the KKK carrying torches. The big epic closer, "Strictly Genteel", is one of the finest songs Zappa as ever composed.
There have been rumors that the movie's carrier, MGM, burned the master tapes to the movie. The movie was one of the first movie filmed on VHS. The movie was out on VHS for some time but now sells for high prices. In August of this year, a new 35mm print of the movie was shown in a California theater, where they showed a double feature of 200 Motels and Zappa's 1979 film Baby Snakes (which is out on DVD). I'm really looking forward to seeing 200 Motels on DVD.
Note: I have seen the movie...online. I'm not giving the site out and I advise you not to go looking for the movie now online. Look on YouTube for clips.