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The Doors: When You're Strange (2009)

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A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.

Director:

Tom DiCillo

Writer:

Tom DiCillo
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Johnny Depp ... Narrator (voice)
John Densmore ... Himself (archive footage)
Robby Krieger ... Himself (archive footage)
Ray Manzarek ... Himself (archive footage)
Jim Morrison ... Himself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pam Courson Pam Courson ... Herself (archive footage)
The Doors ... Themselves (archive footage)
Murray Goodman Murray Goodman ... Himself - Judge (archive footage)
Jimi Hendrix ... Himself (archive footage)
Lyndon Baines Johnson ... Himself (archive footage) (as Lyndon Johnson)
Jim Ladd ... Himself (voice)
Paul A. Rothchild Paul A. Rothchild ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

A chronological look at The Doors, focusing on lead singer, Jim Morrison (1943-1971), from the formation of the band in 1965, it's first gigs, and first album, to Morrison's death, after years of alcohol and drug use. Along the journey, we see archival footage of rehearsals, performances, and private moments including a Miami concert resulting in Morrison's arrest and trial for indecency. His love of the spotlight, his desire to be a poet, and his alcohol-fueled mood swings lead to a back and forth between public and private desires, successes, and failures. The band's music plays throughout. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content including references, nudity, drug material and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 May 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ha idegen vagy - A Doors története See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$66,833, 11 April 2010

Gross USA:

$246,078

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,147,004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS (5.1)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Depp, the narrator was also in Dark Shadows and Sweeney Todd which both revolve around music. See more »

Goofs

A mock newspaper clipping announces both that Sharon Tate and her friends have been found murdered and that Charles Manson and his "Family" are suspected. Manson and the "Family" were not identified as the Tate killers until December 1969, more than four months after the murders happened. See more »

Quotes

Jim Morrison: The music can't help but reflecting things that are happening around you
See more »

Connections

Edited from Feast of Friends (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat, alright...
31 August 2010 | by MarilynMansonSee all my reviews

Well, being a huge fan, knowing quite a lot of people in the Doors (full) circle and having been everywhere from Pere Lachaise to Rothdell Trail to Fairhaven Memorial... I have to say I did turn this on with a slight sense of anxiousness as to whether it would be another destruction of James Douglas Morrison's entire character as both the Oliver Stone horrorshow and the numerous vacuous "rockumentataries" have done.

However, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised in the main. If you're a hardcore Doors fan then despite the claims of previously unseen footage, you will have seen most of this, few people have been to Paris without bumping into the likes of Rainer Moddeman and other well connected superfans and blagging bootleg stuff and HWY and Feast of Friends have been pretty easy to secure for a long time now as have tapes of Critique etc. But, I was quite impressed with what Tom Dicillo did with the footage, not only was he sympathetic and judicious with it but he accented the narrative with it almost as good as Densmore accented anything Jim did. Clearly, for the eagle eyed, he used footage from other events to underscore a point on an entirely different event but that's just me being picky - ultimately, there is a finite amount of footage that could be trawled. He avoided a lot of the glaring pitfalls one could easily make in such a documentary - for example he didn't get too caught in the trap of juxtaposing events in the 60's with the events of the Doors (there was some of this but it was measured and relevant) and I thought Depp was okay with his voice-over although he was a little dour and the script was at times a little prescriptive and compartmentalised. I do however appreciate that the film has to be appeal to more than the hardcore afficianados and that a balance has to be struck so I think the film really does work well both for those who only have a loose interest in The Doors (or even those just interested in the era) and those more fanatical about The Doors.

I know that Ray (at least) backed this film vocally which gives it credibility from the get go and I you have to give the guy credit for using only original footage. That said, this probably reduces the "filmmaking" to that of an editor so I don't want to be too gushing but still, give the guy his due, the end product is enjoyable, reasonably balanced, it maintained interest and it definitely had some nice touches in it which as I said derived from clever use of the stock material. It wasn't just the choice of footage; it was the more the way it was deployed and paced.

Maybe if budget (or sensibilities) had allowed, the film could have encompassed some other original footage (or other stock footage even) for those Doors fans who want to learn more about the Doors landmarks - be it shots of Venice beach or Rue Beautreillis but what I am glad of is the fact that they stayed well away from including interviews with the usual crowd like Grace Slick etc. which I think would have corrupted the output.

I'll watch it (and review it) sober again and see whether I feel the same but all in all, to quote the Velvet Menace himself, "pretty good, pretty good, pretty neat, pretty neat".


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