Occasionally I find a film that is absolutely riveting and delightful, and New York Doll is one of them. It’s the story of Arthur “Killer” Kane, bass player for a glam-rock band in the early 1970s called The New York Dolls. Directed by an LDS friend and told by Arthur and various friends, the film recounts Arthur’s glory days in the band, the subsequent years of drug and alcohol addiction and near poverty, his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his dream of playing with the band again. His dream is realized when he and the two other surviving members are invited by Morrissey to reunite for the London Meltdown Festival in 2004.
While the New York Dolls weren’t commercially successful back in their heyday, they were apparently enormously influential, and there are some big names interviewed in the movie, such as Morrissey, Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde and Iggy Pop. Also interviewed are delightful old ladies who work with Arthur at the Family History Library in L.A. and his home teacher and bishop. Arthur himself is gentle, quirky and unassuming.
One scene was particularly delightful: just before going on stage, fellow band member David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) teases Arthur about giving his share of the money from t-shirt sales to the church. There follows a conversation about the “rules” of Mormonism that will be familiar to any LDS people who’ve had to explain themselves to someone not of the faith. It’s just fun to watch that conversation between two rock stars.
We couldn't find this to rent where we live, so we ended up buying it. I’m glad we did.