Affectionate docu portrait “New York Doll” takes a look at Arthur “Killer” Kane, erstwhile bassist for legendary proto-punk band New York Dolls whose surprising later life revolved around humble servitude in the Church of Latterday Saints. While a definitive portrait of that outfit’s short life & crazy times remains to be made, current pic is a charmer whose lack of profane language or images renders it unexpectedly viable for general broadcast.
Skimming too briefly if effectively over the Doll’s original early-to-mid-’70s career as a shocking audiovisual presence — their look one-step-beyond glitter transsexuality, their sound a raucous garage noise — pic focuses mostly on Kane’s days after his brush with stardom. Hitting the alcoholic, suicidal bottom, he rebounded thanks to Mormon conversion, working for years at L.A.’s LDS Family Library. Yet he felt his musical career was unfulfilled. In 2004, shortly before his death, an invitation from diehard fan Morrissey resulted in the reunion of surviving Dolls (three had already died) for one acclaimed London festival gig. Kane’s unguarded, eccentric personality drives this bittersweet memento of a life long enough to come satisfyingly full-circle.