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New York Doll

94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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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 Dolls. It was, to say the least, a dysfunctional one. Fame came fast, but money didn't follow, and the band imploded "because of our bad behavior." Kane struggled with alcohol and other problems before finding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1980s. He turned his life around, but refused to let go of the past. He wanted to get the band back together. Jerry Nolan and Johnny Thunders died in the 1990s, but Kane’s dream didn’t. "For 30 years I was ignored and told that I was a loser," he states. Whiteley doesn't preach or condescend, but allows Kane to tell his own story, bolstered by comments from friends and associates. As Morrissey, who kick-started the group’s 2004 London reunion, explains, "For everybody there's an artist that captures you at just the right time... The Dolls were that for me." Featuring David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Iggy Pop, Chrissie Hynde, and Mick Jones, New York Doll was nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Special Features

  • Bonus 20 minute interview with Morrissey
  • Director interview
  • David Johansen "dolls" up a classic hymn

Product Details

  • Actors: Arthur Kane, David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Nina Antonia, Bishop Bragg
  • Directors: Greg Whiteley
  • Producers: Seth Gordon, Ed Cunningham
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: First Independent
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E97HUS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,968 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "New York Doll" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Carin J. Reddig on April 4, 2006
Format: 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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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mickey Bitsko on April 12, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having missed "New York Doll" at the Sundance Film Festival (it was sold-out) and the local theaters (couldn't get the wife to go to a documentary about another "rock 'n' roll casualty"), I was destined to await the release of the DVD. I'm sorry now that I didn't see it sooner.

The story of Arthur "Killer" Kane is typical and atypical. Typical in the sense of the prototypical 1970s rocker, who found fame and near-fortune, only to throw it all away in the name of excess and a larger-than-life ego, leaving him destitute, lonely and in ill-health...even suicidal.

But in a way, Kane's story is atypical. Instead of Kane turning into the next Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin or Pete Ham, he stumbles upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) religion - Arthur would say it was divinely guided - that gives him internal peace and a change of heart. You seem to witness a man now at peace. At peace with his rock 'n' roll past and bitter relationships with his past bandmates. At peace with the denial of fame and fortune. At peace with his current simple lifestyle working at the local LDS Family History Center. At peace with normal people (whose presence he would have distained years earlier). In a way, it seems it took him a lifetime of hell to find heaven. How fitting that he died so poor in a temporal sense, yet so rich in spirit.

The three most poignant moments for me was went former Dolls lead singer, David Johansen makes his 'rock god' entrance into the New York rehearsal studio and to watch Arthur's uncertain face to see how his old friend and rival would react to his presence. When they embrace, you can see the years of distrust and bitterness disappear.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Jarmick on May 29, 2006
Format: 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.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Wendy S. Mottola on June 26, 2006
Format: DVD
As an excommunited member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for some 11 years, I stumbled across this documentery while in the midst of a severe personal and spiritual torment.

Arthur Kane and the New York Dolls were not familiar to me, but I bought the DVD because it simply looked "untraditional"in the LDS genere, and peaked my curiosity. I sent my husband and kids out as I was expecting something loud and perhaps controversial.

Indirectly, the gentle spirit of Arthur Kane's transformation settled bits and pieces of my rattled nerves, and my soul. For a completely non-preachy film, it was full of indirect words of hope and healing. Perhaps his soul was at my re-baptism, as his story was a small, but significant insight that helped me understand my trials to be blessings in disguise.
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