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NEW YORK DOLL
USA: First Independent Pictures
UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Arthur Kane, Barbara Kane
Interviews with: Arthur Kane, Steven Morrissey (The Smiths), David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter), Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), Barbara Kane (Arthur Kane's wife), Iggy Pop (Iggy and the Stooges), Mick Jones (The Clash), Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Don Letts (Big Audio Dynamite), Steve Conte (New York Dolls), Brian Koonin (New York Dolls), Lee Black Childress (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame photographer), Frank Infante (Blondie), Sirius Trixon (Motor City Bad Boys), Bishop Bragg (LDS Church), Bishop Macgregor (LDS Church), Nina Antonia (Author, Too Much Too Soon), Clem Burke (Blondie), and Sammy Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks)
Director: Greg Whiteley
USA: 75 mins
UK: 78 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for drug content
UK Certificate: 12A contains hard drug references
USA Release Date: 28 October 2005 (Limited Release - New York and Los Angeles)
UK Release Date: 5 May 2006 (Limited Release - wider)
UK Release Date: 7 April 2006 (Limited Release - London)
Mild-mannered, 55-year-old Arthur Kane endures Los Angeles' bewildering public transportation system each day to and from his job at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's Family History Center library. Though a tad frayed-at-the-edges Arthur is neatly dressed in a suit and tie. Thirty years later, and a lifetime removed from his former alter ego, "Killer Kane," the one time statuesque bassist of 70s gender-bending, glam rock pioneers, The New York Dolls, Arthur blends effortlessly into his current environment, despite the fact that he's speaking to a camera crew who tags along with him on his daily routine. The Dolls' outrageous antics belied a ferocious sound that presaged punk and influenced a generation of musicians. Establishing the raucous-rocker template, the Dolls' crashed and burned amidst a flurry of drug and alcohol abuse after their aptly titled second LP, Too Much Too Soon. The band broke up in 1975.
Lead singer David Johansen found new success as party-mad "Buster Poindexter," as well as in various film ventures; Sylvian Sylvian continued to play professionally, and guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan would help initiate the rise of punk with The Heartbreakers. But with the majority of the band expanding on those early, hopeful horizons, Arthur Kane faded away into virtual obscurity for almost three decades. Relocating from New York to Los Angeles, Arthur battled alcoholism as he watched the continued imitation of his former band echo in the pop world. He embarked on a troubled marriage as he attempted repeatedly to resurrect his musical career. But the majority of his time was taken up by an obsession with his short-lived fame and an intense longing for a return to the spotlight.
In 1989, his marriage over, Arthur converted to Mormonism and eventually settled into a job at the Family History Center library, assisting in the location of long-lost relatives and the reconnection of severed relationships through genealogical records. It would be a foreshadowing task of employment, and as he rode the bus to and from work every day, Arthur dreamed the fool's dream of rekindling his own broken friendships with the only family he felt he had left, The Dolls.
In early Spring 2004, rock star Morrissey, formerly of The Smiths, and curator of London's 2004 Meltdown Festival, asked the surviving three New York Dolls to reunite for the London spectacular. Caught between disbelief and angst, Arthur was nonetheless ecstatic at the notion of realizing his life-long dream. His friends at the church gave him money to retrieve his guitars from a local pawnshop so he could begin practicing.
Rehearsals in New York led to a reunion with the surviving Dolls, Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain. Arthur finally relinquished long-held grudges and anxieties and got ready to rock after a decades-long slumber. But no one knew how the Dolls might perform after such a long hiatus. No one knew whether it was going to gel or be a total disaster. However, Arthur shared none of these doubts.
This is a heart-warming film that will appeal to almost anyone. It's about one man and his dream.