Absolute AnimeAbsolute Anime

Experience the wonder of Japanese Animation!
Warning: Unmarked Spoilers Lie Within These Pages!

Movie Review: New York Doll


New York Doll is a soon-to-be-released documentary that highlights the tragic life of Arthur "Killer" Kane, bass player for New York Dolls way back in the 1970's. You may think of it as a feature-length version of VH1's "Behind the Music" series, though it mentions practically nothing about him before his New York Dolls days and doesn't really focus too much on his low-points after the band broke up. Instead, it focuses more on him in recent years, after he found God and became a Mormon, and how his longtime dream of getting the band back together came to fruition. I've heard of the New York Dolls before this, but I didn't really know anything about them, so I came into this film not really knowing anything about the person or the band.

As I mentioned, Arthur "Killer" Kane was the bass player for the New York Dolls, a huge band back in the 1970's that inspired many of the metal bands that followed. Started in 1971, they started the whole big hair, makeup, lipstick, tight pants, platform shoes... well, you know the look. But, as is typical with these kinds of bands, drugs and alcohol were rampant, which eventually caused the band to break up in 1975. And the deaths of several of the members didn't help much either. Arthur tried to continue his musical career by forming a few different bands, but none of them worked out. So he spent most of his time drinking. And to make matters worse, he didn't make any money from the band. And yet he always still clung to the hope that someday the band would reunite.

New York Doll The other surviving members went on to have at least some degree of success, the most popular probably being David Johansen who created the alter ego Buster Poindexter. And so it goes that one day, after Arthur sees Johansen on TV in a movie, Scrooged (starring Bill Murray), he drank a whole lot, beat his wife, and attempted suicide by jumping out of his third story kitchen window. Well, he survived the fall, thanks to a planter box, but still got pretty banged up, so sometime during his recovery he came across an add for one of those Mormon books and decided to send away for it. What he got back was more than just a book, it was a new way of life.

New York Doll Of course, he was still dirt poor. A bus was his only transportation to and from his job at the library. Watching this timid old man sitting in the back of the bus wearing his moron suit, one would never think this person was once a huge rock star. And alas, it sure seemed like he would never be again. But then something sensational happened. In 2004, the curator of the 2004 Meltdown Festival in London and former President of the New York Dolls fan club asked Arthur and the Dolls to reunite for two shows! Having no money and no guitar to practice on, his friends were all kind enough to give spare him the dough so he get one of his guitars out of the pawn shop.

New York Doll Soon he was off to New York for rehearsals, where he would once again face singer David Johansen, the man for which Arthur had held a one-sided grudge. Thankfully, Arthur was able to let it go, and the two became friends once again. It wasn't long before the band, consisting of the three original surviving members and three replacement members, were in the groove and ready to play! So off to London they went, where nobody knew what to expect. Would it bring back the fond memories of days long past, or would it just be an embarrassment. No one was sure... except Arthur.

New York Doll It was June 16, 2004 when they went on stage at the Royal Festival Hall. Soon after, any notion of embarrassment evaporated away, and by night's end all of the anticipation, from both the audience and the band, had transformed into pure excitement. The audience was amazed and outstanded. It was everything they could have hoped for. Yes folks, the New York Dolls rocked the house! Or at least that's what we're led to believe. We don't actually get to see much of the concert, so I can't speak from first-hand experience here. But anyway, it's what happened to Arthur after the concert that nobody could have ever expected....

New York Doll New York Doll was a decent watch overall, but I think it would be more fulfilling to those who were fans of the New York Dolls, or at least knew something about them before hand. The film held my interest all the way through, but didn't twist my emotions at all, nor did it delve much into the hard life that he had lived prior to his Mormon conversion. I think in that respect, a VH-1 Behind the Music would be able to do a much better job. I did like to see that this poor guy was finally able to fulfil his dream of reuniting with his band mates and playing on stage in front of a packed audience. Still, the guy is kind of annoying to listen to, as he sounds like a whiney old man a lot of the times. Thankfully, the film is made up of interviews with many other individuals which helps to help keep him from getting on your nerves. Check it out if your a fan, otherwise just wait it to show up on TV.

New York Doll will be released theatrically in New York City and Los Angeles on October 28, 2005, with additional locations following. It was directed by Greg Whiteley and stars Arthur "Killer" Kane and many, many individuals whom his man has had some kind of influence on. Check out the official website for more.

Image Gallery: New York Doll

Visitor Comments

Additional Content