Head (film)  

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"Pleasure - the inevitable byproduct of our civilization. A new world - the only preoccupation will be: how to amuse itself."--Head (1968) by Bob Rafelson

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Head is a 1968 American satirical musical adventure film written and produced by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson, directed by Rafelson, starring television rock group the Monkees (Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith) and distributed by Columbia Pictures.

During production, one of the working titles for the film was Changes, which was later the name of an album by the Monkees. Another working title was Untitled. A rough cut of the film was previewed for audiences in Los Angeles in the summer of 1968 under the title Movee Untitled.

The film featured Victor Mature as "The Big Victor" and cameo appearances by Nicholson, Teri Garr, Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, Timothy Carey, Percy Helton and Ray Nitschke. Also appearing on screen in brief non-speaking parts are Dennis Hopper and film choreographer Toni Basil.


Head begins at the dedication of the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, California. As a local politician struggles with his microphone during the dedication speech, the Monkees (Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith) suddenly interrupt the ceremony by running through the assembled officials to the sound of various horns and sirens. Micky then jumps off the bridge into the water below. He floats around, unconscious, as several mermaids attempt to revive him.

The scene then transitions into a living room, in which the Monkees are having a kissing contest with a young woman, who pronounces them all "even." Then the opening song plays, filling the screen with images from the film, and ending with the execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém followed by a woman screaming. However, the woman is not screaming in terror but in excitement, as the Monkees are about to take the stage at a concert. When the Monkees arrive, they lead the crowd in a cheer for "War!" which leads to a short war film, then transitions back to the concert stage where the group performs the song "Circle Sky". After the song, they are ripped apart by a rush of fans, but it quickly becomes clear that the Monkees are merely mannequins.

The movie meanders along, weaving through various (and mostly unrelated) sets, lots, and film genres, alternating between scenes with the group and scenes with individual members. Each Monkee takes a turn in the spotlight, experiencing confusion and dissatisfaction with their situation. Together, they repeatedly find themselves trapped in some form of enclosure, from a vacuum cleaner to a large black box (which Micky says represents their universe). When trapped, they are alone and spend their time trying to find a way out, but each time they escape they have little control over the situations they find themselves in. Any initiative they do take is invariably short-lived.

Eventually, Peter discovers a swami he believes to have "the Answer", but when Peter tries to share this with the rest of the group, they initially ignore him. When they finally decide to listen, Davy becomes enraged with Peter's conclusion: "I know nothing." Davy then goes on a rampage through the studio and the lot, eventually landing the group back inside the black box, which is then flown out to the desert. There they are released, only to face all their antagonists from the film.

The Monkees flee on foot, ending up at the bridge dedication shown at the beginning of the film. This time, we see all four Monkees jump from the bridge, still pursued by their enemies. As each Monkee lands in the water below, he begins to swim away. However, they soon discover that they are actually inside an aquarium on the back of a truck. Head ends with the truck driving away, the Monkees still trapped in the glass box.


Kolima's role is sometimes attributed to Tor Johnson, who does not appear in the film.

See also

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