New York Doll Reviews

New York Doll

  • Punk glam rock band, the New York Dolls made a splash in the 70 s, but infighting and drug use broke up the band. Lead singer David Johansen had a successful solo career but others, like bass guitarist Arthur “Killer ” Kane, weren t so lucky. Arthur was plagued by drinking problems and depression, and a failed suicide attempt ultimately led him to become a Mormon. He was leading a quiet, contented

Arthur Kane of the legendary band the New York Dolls rockets to the top of the glam rock scene. Then with the death of a band member, the group bottoms out and eventually splits up. Arthur disappears from the music scene and in a surprising twist of fate, becomes a Mormon librarian. Years later, Morrissey (of the Smiths) offers Arthur the opportunity to go back into the spotlight and revisit a life he thought was lost forever. New York Doll is a heartfelt story about second chances and an incredible music journey.For a look at a “Killer,” New York Doll is a surprisingly tender portrait. But then Arthur “Killer” Kane, bass player for the New York Dolls, was a gentle soul at heart. In his feature film debut, director Greg Whiteley ably explores the dichotomy between the stone-faced rocker with the “killer” bass lines and the mild-mannered librarian at LA’s Mormon Family History Center. Kane never had much of a home life, but he loved rock and roll, and found a second family with the Doll

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2 thoughts on “New York Doll Reviews

  1. 18 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Short Touching Musician Bio-Pic, May 29, 2006
    Christopher J. Jarmick “Word Lover” (Seattle, Wa. USA) –

    This review is from: New York Doll (DVD)

    Glam,punk rockers The New York Dolls became more popular and influential after their two studio albums and break-up in 1975–then when they were in their prime.

    They inspired a varied group of musicians — some of whom (Chrissy Hynde, Iggy Pop, Morrissey, Bob Geldorf appear on camera here).

    The most famous band member is musician/actor David Johansen who became better known as Buster Poindexter for many years.

    This documentary is about another original member, Charles ‘Killer’ Kane- the base player who faded into neary poverty, drug and alcohol addiction and obscurity shortly after the band broke up.

    Greg Whiteley, a devout Mormon and aspiring film-maker began making “New York Doll” a couple of years after he met one of his Mormon brothers, Arthur Kane who quickly explained he was once known as `Killer’ Kane the bassist for the legendary punk rock band, New York Dolls. In a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction development, Kane got wind of a rumor that what he had prayed for nearly 30 years to happen—-The New York Dolls were going to re-unite.

    Wait a minute ‘Killer Kane’ wound up an LDS member? Yep.
    When several of Kane’s congregational members raised $300 dollars and gave it to him to get his old bass guitars out of hock at the pawn-shop, Greg Whiteley decided to grab a camera and start filming what was going on. At the very least Arthur Kane was a unique interesting individual that would make a good subject for a documentary even if the re-union of the Dolls did not happen.

    Whitely was absolutely right, his documentary New York Doll, an intimate portrait of Arthur Kane and a brief history of the New York Dolls, does indeed make a fascinating, surprisingly touching and moving documentary.

    “Killer’ Kane, the statuesque tall bassist for the outrageous New York Dolls a quiet, humble born-again religious librarian?

    It’s hard to believe that the soft spoken, white shirt and tie wearing, Arthur Kane who we meet riding a series of busses to get to work was once a punk glam boy. It’s hard to believe that Morrissey invited the Dolls to re-unite for his 2004 Meltdown Festival in London. We learn that Morrissey was an avid fan and almost an all out groupie of the New York Dolls when he was 13 years old.

    It’s also hard to believe that the three surviving members of the Dolls mostly in their early 50s would get back together again and be able to create music truly worth listening to without completely embarrassing themselves.

    We get a concise history of the Dolls and learn about their influence from Chrissie Hynde, Bob Geldoff, Mick Jones (of the Clash) and Morrissey. The Dolls (and Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust band) broke through the formulaic heavy metal (with their ten minute drum solos) and dull progressive rock bands (with their ten minute synthesizer solos). They created some excellent songs (sounding like something Green Day would release today) while wearing platform heels, tight leather pants, huge hair, mascara, lipstick and swatches of material that transformed them into disheveled transvestite hookers.

    So did Arthur Kane’s dream of a reuniting with David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain actually happen? Was it a huge success, a pleasant bit of nostalgia or an utter embarrassment? Did Arthur say prayers before going on stage? Did he patch up the feud and bitter feelings he had about David?

    This is the bitter-sweet story about what happened. Since it is about one of the most outrageous punk rock bands from the 70s, trying to explain this is a `bittersweet’ story is an ironic challenge.

    This is not a VH1 Behind the Music kind of profile. It is much more than that. It is a tender but honest portrait of an extremely fragile human being–Arthur Kane. Sure I wish we would have heard and seen a bit more music than we do in the movie, but you can buy the albums for that.
    The film will touch you. The story is sad, but strangely uplifting.

    The film is very short (only 78 minutes) and the DVD has a few extras–like an 8 minute interview with the producer/director and a long interview (part of which is used in the film) with Morrisey. Unfortunately we don’t get to see any full length performances of the Dolls–but don’t let that stop you for a moment from watching this stranger than fiction documentary.

    It is rated PG-13 because of some strong language.

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  2. 54 of 56 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    BEAUTIFUL, April 4, 2006
    Carin J. Reddig “Library Goddess” (Tehachapi, CA, USA) –

    This review is from: New York Doll (DVD)

    The New Yorks Dolls are one of the most influentual bands in the history of modern music. They gave birth to the Glam and Punk movements of the 1970’s and were the primary fashion influence of the hair bands of the 1980’s. Most of my own favorite bands probably would have never existed if the Dolls had not existed first. And honestly, I don’t think they ever wrote a bad song.
    Anyway, as someone who was born Mormon, but grew up “punk” and now exists somewhere between the two this movie spoke to me on more levels than one. I was afraid it might seem like Mormon propaganda (it does not) or might make fun of Mormonism (it also does not.) It is very honest and I was moved to tears several times.
    The extra features on the DVD are must sees and hearing David Johansen sing one of my all-time favorite hymns (Come, Come Ye Saints) was just amazing. Arthur Kane has joined his friends and bandmates beyond the veil but the legacy his band left (and his more quiet works in the service of the church) live on to inspire us.

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