New York Doll

Released 2005


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Movie Summary

Greg Whiteley

New York Doll is a 2005 biographical documentary about life after rock stardom. During the early 1970s, the New York Dolls were considered the preeminent New York glam band that influenced Morrissey, the Pretenders and other New Wave groups. The film focuses on the band's bass player, Arthur "Killer" Kane, who earned the title "the only living statue in rock-and-roll" for his still stage performances. Like many rock groups, the band began to fall apart after they achieved fame. Drugs, alcohol and infighting broke up the band in 1974 and Kane has no success in continuing a musical career. Years later, suffering from alcoholism and depression, he jumped from a building in an attempted suicide. Kane eventually finds a place of solace within the Mormon Church, where he becomes a librarian, but wistfully looks back at his rock-and-roll days. Then the chance to reunite for a one-time performance unexpectedly arrives, and the film follows Kane as he reminisces about the past and faces his demons, in the form of former lead singer David Johansen (a.k.a. Buster Poindexter). Director Greg Whiteley captures both the thrill and the agony of the rock lifestyle through this one musician's unusual life story.


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Though it is small in scale and lasts only 78 minutes, New York Doll, like any documentary, goes places we expect it to and places we do not. As journeys go, this is one to treasure.

  • 70

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Greg Whiteley's small, tender documentary portrait New York Doll looks at life after rock 'n' roll as experienced by Arthur (Killer) Kane, the original bassist for the legendary gl...

  • 70

    Variety Dennis Harvey

    A charmer whose lack of profane language or images renders it unexpectedly viable for general broadcast.

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Documentary, Music


Independent, Biography