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When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors
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When You re Strange, written and directed by
the award-winning Tom DiCillo, is the first feature
documentary released on The Doors. Graced by the
narration of Johnny Depp, it carries the audience
through the journeys of vocalist Jim Morrison,
keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger,
and drummer John Densmore. This 90-minute
presentation features never-before-seen rare archival film,
pulled from their inception in 1966 to Morrison s passing in 1971.
These snapshot scenes of the band s history is as much an intimate
experience, as it is revealing.
After being featured at the Sundance, Berlin, Deauville, and San Sebastian Film Festivals, music fans who didn t catch this in
theaters can now relish in this extraordinary documentary. It celebrates the collaborative power of this illustrious rock quartet
and their revolutionary fusion of creativity and thought-provoking rebellion.
Of course that's Johnny Depp narrating When You're Strange, the 2010 documentary about the Doors: who else but Hollywood's biggest fan of counterculture history? The film's other prominent attraction is the treasure trove of heretofore unscreened footage from the band's heyday, including backstage material, film-school stuff, and a curious project shot by (and starring) Jim Morrison after the group had broken through. That color footage, which When You're Strange returns to throughout its running time, has a bearded, zonked Morrison driving through the Southwest desert, on the road to who knows where. For fans, this footage is fascinating to watch, although the actual narrative of the band's rise and flameout will be very familiar if you already know the story. And even for newbies, the breathless, grandiloquent nature of writer-director Tom DiCillo's approach will likely be a bit off-putting. Made with the participation of band members Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, and John Densmore, the movie adopts a general air of sadness about Morrison's substance abuse, noting that a band intervention led to but one week of sobriety for their lead singer/shaman. It's not all gloom: footage of Morrison wading through a pre-concert crowd catches some of the giddy promise of his unpredictability, which seems so in tune with the era. Those fresh glimpses of an icon make this film worth seeing, even if you've traveled down this road before. --Robert Horton
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Top customer reviews
With this film, we get a much deeper understanding as what happened to the band and Morrison. It's a documentary well worth watching if you are interested in mysterious deaths, pop culture, the 1960s/70s, music in general or The Doors themselves.
After watching this documentary I personally felt I got the entire true story about one of my all time favorite bands - The Doors. Ray, Robby, John and Jim - I have so much love and respect for these guys. <3
Of course, it is also a projection of the dark and compelling Morrison, whose presence looms large throughout. As a fan of their music from back in their day, it was a treat to see them again, in newly-released footage. And I liked it better the second time.
This year will mark the 45th anniversary of the release of the original "The Doors" album. I remember reading a number of years ago that a panel of music critics and music industry heavyweights rated it as one of the top five rock albums of all time; couldn't agree more. I also remember very distinctly the first time that I heard the long version of "Light My Fire"....Blew me away! I had never heard anything like it before; totally mesmerizing and hypnotic. Then, once I heard the remainder of the album it forever changed the way I listened to music and The Doors became my favorite band (and they still are).
It was amazing what these very talented musicians were able to accomplish in such a short time. Their legacy lives on and Morrison's life is forever the epitome of the modern Greek tragedy. Sadly, a lot of "what ifs" had Jim lived.