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33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee (1969)

Four individuals are brainwashed into forming a musical group, featuring guest appearances from some of the superstars of 1950s rock'n'roll.

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(creator), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Himself - Monkee #1
Peter Tork ...
Himself - Monkee #2
...
Himself - Monkee #3
...
Himself - Monkee #4
Julie Driscoll ...
Herself - Special Guest
Brian Auger ...
Himself - Special Guest (as Brian Auger and The Trinity)
...
Himself - Special Guest
...
Himself - Special Guest
...
Himself - Special Guest
...
Herself - Special Guest (as The Clara Ward Singers)
Buddy Miles ...
Himself - Special Guest (as The Buddy Miles Express)
Paul Arnold ...
Himself - Special Guest (as Paul Arnold and The Moon Express)
We Three ...
Themselves - Special Guest
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Storyline

Four individuals are brainwashed into forming a musical group, featuring guest appearances from some of the superstars of 1950s rock'n'roll.

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summer of love | the monkees | See All (2) »

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Music

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Release Date:

14 April 1969 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Tork quit The Monkees immediately after completing this special. See more »

Quotes

Wizard: Who are you?
Wizard's woman: [screaming] I am woman!
[takes a bite from a symbolic apple]
See more »

Connections

Follows Head (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Go, Go, Go (Down The Line)
Written by Roy Orbison
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

Unfit to survive
30 October 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I saw "33-1/3 Revolutions Per Monkees" (IMDb's spell-check won't let me use the singular of "Monkees") when it was aired in Britain on BBC1 in May 1969, six weeks after it was aired Stateside. The Beeb transmitted this show in black and white, so I was surprised later on to learn that it was shot in colour.

Along with "Head", this was one of the Monkees' two efforts to prove they deserved to be taken seriously as musicians. The opening scene is excellent, with each of the four men trapped in a giant test tube and interrogated by a disembodied voice. One by one, each man attempts to assert his individual identity ... only to be zapped, assigned a number, and left speaking in a zombie-like voice. This is all done rapidly, with rhythmic dialogue spoken to a steady pulsing beat. I wish the entire special had been as imaginative as this. The opening scene is clearly the Monkees' response to the charge that they were 'manufactured'.

Later, we get some preening hipster with a cod cut-glass accent who introduces himself as Charles Darwin. (Geddit? ... Darwin? Monkees?) He makes dire comments like: 'And the fittest shall survive.'

There is one fairly interesting sequence in which each Monkees-member performs a solo number. 'Darwin' tells us (while shifting his accent to sham Viennese) that these four numbers represent four psychiatric disorders: fixation, withdrawal, schizophrenia, regression. First comes Mickey Dolenz, doing a weird Warholised number. Second comes Peter Tork, the dullest Monkees-man, doing the most boring number: a shameless George Harrison imitation. Mike Nesmith does a novelty song as himself and a rhinestone cowboy in split-screen, which apparently is meant to symbolise schizophrenia.

By a long chalk, the best is the 'regression' number, performed by Davy Jones, who was definitely the most talented of the Monkees. This is a very weird number. Dressed as a little boy in a Buster Brown suit, Jones wanders through an over-sized nursery and sings along to a tinkly music-box tune. In the nursery he meets women dressed as little girls from children's stories (Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Goldilocks, Raggedy Anne, etc) and he dances with them whilst he sings. If any other adult male performer had done this number, it would have seemed dangerously paedophilic, but Jones is artless (in the favourable sense of the term) and he manages to make this sequence seem genuinely innocent. The women are all virtuoso dancers, pirouetting expertly and doing hitch-kicks in petticoats: very delightful, but killing the illusion that they're actually little girls. I was impressed ... but only with this sequence and with the opening number.

The rest of this TV special was rather dire. I've not seen it since its original UK airdate. I'm glad I saw it, but I don't want to see it again. Well, maybe the number with Davy and all those petticoat girls.

A side comment for David Bowie fans: it's well-known that Bowie's real name was David Jones, and that he changed it so as to avoid confusion with another performer named Davy Jones. Bowie fans in America usually assume that the "Davy Jones" in this story was the Monkees' vocalist. Wrong! Despite his Mancunian origins (and his stint as a child actor on 'Coronation Street'), Davy Jones of the Monkees was never well-known in Britain. The performer who prompted Bowie's name change was a completely different Davy Jones: a Jamaican calypso singer who was very popular in England in the early 1960s.


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