Beginning with the title song, "It's a Mod Mod World" by the Gretschmen, "Mondo Mod" explores West Hollywood, California's famous Sunset Strip in 1966. We journey from discotheques to dirt bike competitions, taking in surfing, karate, go-carting, the Hell's Angels, political protests, pot parties and all the other trappings of the Now Generation. Along the way, we're treated to priceless footage of Pandora's Box, Gazzarri's, the Whisky A Go-Go, the Fifth Estate, and countless other forgotten haunts of "the neon Neverland that the mod set calls home." Starring, according to the credits, "The Youth of the World," "Mondo Mod" features a pot-smoking, bongo-blasting finale during which these hipsters and flipsters start to strip down. Both the film's cinematographers became world-famous: Laszlo Kovacks for "Easy Rider," and Vilmos Szigmond for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
This film is a big tour through the world of the 60s.
A teen hippie and surfer explains the world of the sixties with surfing, hippies, LSD, bickers, juvenile delinquents. Man do I wish that I lived in that time, but unfortunately I was born in 1981. This is quite a great colorful film, with long scenes all about the many goings on in the sixties. The party scene at the end was the best scene. Recommended!
Uneven but interesting
MONDO MOD is aptly described by its trailer as "the film that took a trip and never came back!!!" It attempts to document the hip "mod" scene of the mid-60s and focuses solely on southern California. As a result, the film offers a very distorted look at the "youth culture" of that era. The most popular "mod" activities are, according to MONDO MOD: surfing, rioting, martial arts, Go-Karting, dancing, smoking pot and taking LSD, and riding motorcycles. The Vietnam War is never mentioned. A thirty-something acidhead and the young, very "mod"-stylish owner of a fashion boutique are interviewed. In my favorite scene the acidhead, wearing a mod-ified (no pun intended) executioner's mask to hide his identity, talks about his dozen LSD trips while he is purportedly tripping, and his interlocutor repeatedly turns to the camera to dispense a frightening anti-drug message that utterly contradicts the acidhead's statements. There are a few extended sequences with hot chicks dancing and systematically (not to say "semiprofessionally") disrobing. On the Something Weird Video DVD of MONDO MOD you can see two 7 minute reels of "alternate footage" from the film (with nudity excised from the theatrical release) and the ridiculously over-the-top trailer, plus a whole slew of other hippie-exploitation material.
Don't forget the commentary track
Most of the reviews of the DVD of "Mondo Mod" and it's counterpart of the same DVD package "Hippie Revolt", fails to mention the most interesting element of each film. And that is the commentary track on this DVD that is totally synced-up with movie. Johnny Legend and another person with him (sorry I forgot his name) Provides probably the most observant commentary about each film and what they experienced in that period. In fact, it is absolutely a delight to listen to! They were there! They can describe what the real story is behind the film footage. The movies alone with the original soundtrack only rates a 3. But with the commentary track I rate each film an 8! Please everybody if you buy or rent the DVD, don't ignore the commentaries. Highly recommended!
Yawn-inducing exploitation film
Purporting to report on the new "Mod" culture of the 1960's (the director doesn't bother to distinguish between mods & hippies, & uses the terms interchangeably), this film is really nothing more than a cheaply-made, cheaply-put-together exploitation film. Lurid details, long (& boring) pieces about "exciting" youth events (motorbikes, surfing, go-carts), & the obligatory warning against drugs (including an "interview" with a guy tripping on LSD) are happily presented alongside upskirt shots of go-go girls, girls in bikinis waxing surfboards, girls in bikinis being shared by bikers, & a tedious climax with a guy & two girls walking zombie-like around a candle, gradually disrobing as the pot apparently takes effect.
Like some exploitation films, the whole point is to slip the sex in underneath the alarming news that these people are overrunning the planet - lots of weird statistics are tossed out by the fakey radio deejay narrator, including the fascinating fact that 95% of all teenagers in Iran commit suicide - fascinating, if true, but what the hell does it have to do with kids on the Sunset Strip? - but be warned, while the girlies are awful cute (I was partial to the stripping girl who dances all through the diatribe against pot & acid), there is no actual nudity. Plus, the Something Weird print that I rented had a terrible audio dupe.
Not worth it, &, for those of you who think this is really some kind of documentary - give me a break.
While the Mod era got most of the hype and coverage, the Hippies had their own little spots here too.
We cover the LA area here. We get a good look at the dirt bike races and surfing scenes. A tour of the local clothing shops as well. It's interesting to see the fashions displayed without even a hint of irony.
A few rock bands are shown too. Local acts, many with the greaser look still. But a few are showing Beatles influence too. And in all honesty. the groups and songs were pretty good.
The inevitable scenes of riots and protests are here too. Along with an acid fueled orgy at the end. Lots of close-ups of girls in go-go boots and minis dancing as well.
Not a bad doc at all. The DVD has "Hippie Revolt" as an extra. That's for 60's completests especially.
As A.P. Stootsberry, Peter Perry Jr. made The Notorious Cleopatra, The Secret Sex Lives of Romeo and Juliet and The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill. He used his real name to make this and Honeymoon of Terror.
This movie explores the Sunset Strip in 1966, which is everything from bars like the Pandora's Box, Gazzarri's, the Whisky A Go-Go and the Fifth Estate to learning about karate, surfing, pot, protests and go-karts.
This movie stars "The Youth of the World," which seems to be every kid alive in 1966, but trust me, it's a select crew here.
It's all narrated by Humble Harve Miller, who was a huge star at Los Angeles' KHJ-AM, the same station that "The Real Deal" Don Steele was at. However, in 1971, Harve had a major tiff with his wife that ended with him shooting and killing her. He was able to get his charges lowered to second-degree murder, claiming that in a fight over the gun, she was accidentally shot.
He spent three years in jail, teaching other inmates how to succeed in radio and recording books for the blind. When he got out, he went right back on the air. At the height of his career, one in four people in LA was listening to him and he has a 21.4 share, a number no one will ever get ever again.
The cinematographers of this movie, Lazlo Kovans and Vilmos Szigmond, would go on to make some pretty influential films like Easy Rider and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Cool snapshot of the pre-hippie 1960's California youth culture scene
While this easy'n'breezy documentary may not be 100% factually accurate, it nonetheless provides a perfectly enjoyable portrait of what the whole 1960's California youth culture scene was like before the hippie flower power movement kicked in. Among the funky sights and activities to be relished herein are groovy bands performing live in clubs on the Sunset Strip (yep, we get footage of the legendary Whiskey a Go-Go), martial artists practicing karate, surfers braving the waves in Hawaii and California, a scruffy outlaw biker gang beating up the cameraman (one of them even spits on the lens!), sexy go-go dancing chicks, dirt bike and go-kart racing, a staged interview with a masked LSD user, and a group of hopheads letting it all hang out after they finish smoking pot and doing dope. Narrated with verve by smooth-voiced disc jockey Humble Harve, well shot by future big-time cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmund, and topped off by an infectiously catchy theme song, it's a total gas, baby!
Watch for the L.A. Locales Only
Far from a great documentary but fun to watch for the various Los Angeles locations. Weird mix of titillation and anti-drug messages. I couldn't tell whether this was pro or anti teens and LSD. I was a kid in the 60's and this was fun to watch for the clothes, cars and music but incoherent story and at times looked like the director was on acid. Curio piece just take it too seriously. The interviews look stilted and awkward, what little acting this had was very bad. The Whiskey a Go-Go scenes were my favorite and really took me back to that era when my Dad would take me to places that had live music.
How they got LA DJ Humble Harv to narrate this is beyond me..they must have thrown some serious cash his way.
Joint Review with "Hippie Revolt"
Most of us who see this will watch the Something Weird presentation which pairs this with "Hippie Revolt."
"Mondo World" is the more miss-able of the two films. It has its moments of unintentional humor that we watch Something Weird films for, but they are few and far between. Probably the best moment is when a women is trying out a dress in a ill-lit boutique looks at the owner and says, "Could this be made any shorter?" The dress coming down to about a centimeter below her crotch. The film never defines "mod" but shows a collection of unrelated phenomena. Outside of the drug use, they might unnerve a grandmother in Kansas, but no one else. Guys with short hair on surfboards? Guys on dirtbikes? It's not a cultural revolt, it's people with a little spending money and leisure time, although the leering narrator seems to think differently. For the most part, this film seems to be the kind of second feature shown at drive-ins intended to bore people into putting away the speaker and leaving after fifteen minutes or so.
"Hippie Revolt" aka "Something's Happening" is a little more worthwhile; it at least works as a cultural document. Noteworthy in the running time: scenes of the Haight-Ashbury district of the time, which it is claimed had about one person every six square feet. I don't know if that was accurate, but the people did seem packed. The camera panned for a minute on a weekly community group seminar on how to avoid gangbangs, venereal disease, beatings and starvation, letting us know that not all was peace and consensual sex among these young, pad-crashing transients. Then the film moves to a commune called "Strawberry Fields," where it was revealed that the locals had problems with these hippies moving into the area. As no one seems to be doing anything productive, I might have problems myself. The property probably is still an outdoor slum thanks to these people. Mostly this part of the film lets us know that people zonked on drugs can sound really, really dumb. "The total presence of God and the total absence of God, it's like, the same thing," says a nubile young girl in a short dress, while a man nods in agreement; no doubt wondering how much more of this crap he will have to listen to before she will let him get into that dress.
Easily the best part of the disk is the extras. You get to see previews for sleazy, and I mean, sleazy, roughies like "Smoke and Flesh" and "The Dean's Wife." And deleted scenes from "Mondo Mod" showing nudity. (If and when you see a nice body in these extras, keep in mind: she's probably expecting her first great-grandchild right about now.) Best of all were the posters of drive-in movies shown while a voice-over used a drive-in in Greenville, SC plays. I found it amazing that two movies, "The Miracle of Birth" and "Birth of Triplets" were advertised here over and over. I didn't know 'birth films' were a genre? Either that, or obstetricians were a big part of the drive-in audience....
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