Our first sight of Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane is as a self-confessed “schlep on the bus”: edgy, ageing, Woody Allen-esque whine. It’s hard to equate this man with the ‘Killer’ Kane of yesteryear, the one-time bassist for the New York Dolls, and this is a tension which lies at the heart of Greg Whitely’s impressive documentary. How do you go from playing in one of the seventies’ most influential bands – responsible for a limited discography but also a sizeable chunk of musical history – to a Mormon who can rarely afford to get his guitars out of hock? In order to understand this shift New York Doll spends equal time in the past and the present. The history of the Dolls (and their influence) is relayed by a number of famous fans with the likes of Morrissey, Bob Geldof and the Clash’s Mick Jones all stepping up to pay tribute. The in-between times, meanwhile, are left largely to Kane himself and wife Barbara. We learn of a suicide attempt which prevented our subject from walking for almost a year; blink-and-you’ll-miss cameo appearances in Spaceballs and InnerSpace; and get Barbara’s self-deprecating description as “the rock star’s wife who had no money”. Finally, Kane’s current life as a Mormon working in the local ‘Family History Centre’ is witnessed first hand and via his friends, bishops, ‘home teacher’ and co-workers. The overall picture, therefore, is a richly detailed one; a fitting mixture which neither dwells on the good or the bad. Though Morrissey may, at one point, refer to “the curse of the New York Dolls” (most famously there was the death of guitarist Johnny Thunders), this is no bleak journey through the recent past and neither is it a catalogue of upsets and failures, though both do play their part.Read full review
Great film about a member of a great band. Saw this film at the GFT a few years ago. You do not need to know anything about the New york Dolls to enjoy this film Very sad at the end aaah. Great price as well - is that alright?