120 minute - 2005 digitally-enhanced "Director's Cut." The underground cult classic documentary of the psychedelic 1960s. Closeups of stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Ronald Reagan, Frank Zappa, Sean Connery, Brigit Bardot, Alfred Hitchcock, Bobby Beausoleil of the "Manson Family," imprisoned for life for murder, and Jay Sebring - victim of the Mansons. Personal insights by surfers, skydivers, LSD gurus, hippies, peaceniks, protest-singers, rightwing politicians, eccentric multi-millionaires and transvestites. Denounced as "bizarre prophecy" by the critics. Invited to open the 1968 Avignon & Venice Film Festivals, but banned by the French Ministry of Information as a "danger to mental health" and an "apology for certain perversities, including drugs and homosexuality." Characterised in CIA files as "pro-Communist." Refused exhibition in Communist nations as "glamourising Capitalism - too many cars and swimming pools." Described by UNESCO social scientist S. Friedman as "...a vivid, warm & humorous image of people ... confronting the eternal American dream.... It may well be that we are at the eve of a profound social and moral revolution." Written, Produced & Directed by Robert Carl Cohen, renowned for pioneering documentaries INSIDE RED CHINA, INSIDE EAST GERMANY, THREE CUBANS, and COMMITTEE ON UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES. The MONDO HOLLYWOOD Music Director, Mike Curb, was later elected Lt. Governor of California in 1978 despite being falsely accused of "singing falsetto in a bathtub scene in the film with two lesbians." Its original sound track performed by the Mugwumps & Davy Allen & The Arrows.
Hollywood Reporter - July 31, 1967
"MONDO HOLLYWOOD," a quasi-crazy film documentary focused on the underbelly of Hollywood, is a bravura work by Robert Carl Cohen, who produced, directed, photographed & edited. Technically, much of it is outstanding, particularly the photography... Cohen does not appear to take advantage of his subjects... There are surfers, body painters, junkies, transvestites, health nuts, hair stylists, sky divers and assorted trippers. Cohen caught startling views of the city and its braid of freeways from the Goodyear blimp. He uses the fisheye lens for some excellent effects and the color is outstanding. Editing, too, is sharp, building with the successive insanities to delirium by the film's enervating climax.
COUNTERPUNCH - March 4, 2006
Revisiting MONDO HOLLYWOOD
Long considered a cult classic, Mondo Hollywood captures the underside of Hollywood by documenting a moment in time (1965-67), when an inquisitive trust in the unknown was paramount, hope for the future was tangible and life was worth living on the fringe. Musical Direction by Mike Curb -- later elected Lt. Governor of California (1978), despite being falsely accused of "singing falsetto in a bathtub scene in the film with two lesbians." The sound track is performed by Davy Allen & The Arrows along with The Mugwumps (including Mama Cass and Zal Zablonsky).
In retrospect, the unwarranted reactions against the film by authoritarians, ranging from the French Commission of Control to the CIA (which labeled it, along with all of Cohen's other films, as "pro-communist") indicate Mondo Hollywood had struck a nerve - and questioned myths that seemed essential to those who attempted to control our minds. Originally denounced as a "bizarre prophecy" by the critics, today the film reveals itself to be far more prophetic than "bizarre."
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Ronald Reagan, Frank Zappa, Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Alfred Hitchcock
MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL - Hollywood 2006
L'Etrange Film Festival - Paris - September 2005
Moondance Film Festival - Boulder, Colorado - 2005
Mannheim Film Festival - October 1967
Streaming video trailer