New York Dolls – All Dolled Up

New York Dolls – All Dolled Up / 2005 MVD / 95 Minutes / / /

One just can tell that this documentary was created sometime in the seventies, as the extremely cheesy opening (going back in time to recast the New York Dolls as gangsters, with a Volkswagen bug taking the place of the old Studebakers) is what awaits viewers. The raw fury of the Dolls is interspersed directly with the primping and sexual moments present in the documentary. A clip from the CBS affiliate when the New York Dolls were just getting big (selling out Max’s Kansas City) really brings the idea of the Dolls as punk progenitors down as the comparison that the anchorperson makes of the band as being a mix between the Rolling Stones and Alice Copper seems important to take into consideration.

What always seems interesting to me is that the black and white footage of this period always seems sharper than color footage; even if the lighting leaves a little to be desired during some of these live concert clips, one can see and hear exactly what is going on with the evolution of the New York Dolls. The transposition of the loud and raucous live concert video with the tranquil interview clips makes for a stark division in the style of the New York Dolls, and shows them as normal humans and over the top rock gods, all in the space of 95 minutes. The presence of the lead singer is much more Jim Morrison than Ramone in appearance; there seems to be a sultry, even sexy allure to eir that haad to compel quite a few individuals to focus in that much closer. The laid-back nature of the Dolls is so diametrically opposed to their stage personae that it becomes hard at some points to continue listening in to the interview.

What is actually most interesting about this DVD are the commentary tracks, to which the legendary David Johansen actually found some time off eir busy schedule to throw in. For those individuals who would rather just watch out the power of the New York Dolls without any of the interviews to shut down the momentum present, there is an option available in the bonus features that allows individuals to listen to the full performance off the songs that are alluded to during the documentary. Just seeing this video in the DVD drive of computer is an experience to behold; one can only imagine how floored individuals will be when the movie hits the big screen (there were theatrical screenings that took place late last year). There is no doubt after this movie that the New York Dolls were indeed the bridge between rock and punk music, but it is important to not too closely connective them with punk music. There are enough in the ways of differences present to allow these distinctions to be held up during this video. For the music completist or the general fan of period music, “All Dolled Up” is a definite purchase, and this will be vindicated by the amount of times this DVD is played after the purchase.

Rating: 6.8/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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