New York Doll

2/27/2006

new york dollColor, PG-13 (mature themes), widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1, 78 min., DVD only $19.99 DVD: additional interviews with Morrissey and director, David Johansen music video. Street: April 4, Prebook: March 6. First Run: L, Oct. 2005, <$1 mil.> Director: Greg Whiteley. VISUAL ENTERTAINMENT

“From rock star to schlep on the bus” is the way Arthur Kane, the former bassist for the influential band New York Dolls, describes his life path in this alternately sad and inspirational documentary. When we first meet Kane, he’s working as a buttoned-down clerk at a Mormon library in Los Angeles, wishing desperately for a Dolls reunion. This wish is granted when singer Morrissey asks the band to reunite for an event in the summer of 2004. The reunion is a smash, but Kane dies shortly thereafter. Filmmaker Whiteley, an acquaintance of Kane’s through the Mormon Church, crafts a stirring portrait of an aging rocker who found solace in religion and dreamed of former glories. The sequences in which “Killer Kane” reunites with old band mates David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain are heartbreaking in their simplicity, with the trio simply picking up where they left off nearly three decades before. The film becomes heavy handed when Whiteley implies that the power of prayer in Kane’s life brought about Morrissey’s decision. Those familiar with the Dolls’ important punk/glam legacy will be able to overlook the religious message and respond solely to the music and Kane’s brief, peculiar journey back into the limelight. —Ed Grant