20th Century Flicks:
Dir: Bob Rafelson, 1968, USA, 86 mins, Cert: PG
Thu 10 May // 20:00
Tickets: £5 (full) / £4 (concession)
One year before Easy Rider, director/producer team Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider sought to break into Hollywood with a film starring their already wildly-successful TV stars, The Monkees. Meanwhile, the band themselves were looking for an opportunity to move their fanbase from screaming teenagers towards the young adults of the counterculture. The result, scripted by a pre-fame Jack Nicholson, was a dizzying, free-form charge through American pop culture, or, as the trailer put it, "the most extraordinary adventure, western, comedy, love story, mystery, drama, musical, documentary satire ever filmed".
Fifty years on from its original release, it enjoys a status as a cult curio for acolytes of the psychedelic era - a wild mishmash of cinematic styles located somewhere between Richard Lester's Beatles films and surrealist avant-garde experimentalism. Taking aim at everything from the Vietnam War to the band's own manufactured beginnings, and featuring a host of improbable cameos (Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston, and Victor Mature's hair, to name but three), this remains one of American cinema's most sublimely strange one-offs.