Drummer John Densmore was an astute jazz aficionado while guitarist Robby Krieger’s penchant for flamenco guitar, and other influences helped form The Doors’ distinct rock-based aura. And Phil Manzarek’s multitasking approach, including bass lines executed on his keys, offered a jazz, blues and rock foundation. But it was vocalist Jim Morrison who was the star of the show, as this documentary offers an insightful and entertaining snapshot of the band, accentuating Morrison’s fallen idol legacy.
Morrison’s substance abuse is legendary for the wrong reasons, which of course, led to his untimely death. Narrated by actor Johnny Depp, the documentary traces The Doors from its humble beginnings in the mid-60’s through the end, where the band was selling millions of albums and packing them in at venues in the U.S. and abroad. Amid the dialogues there are pastiches of live shows and parallels to the current events during the 60s and 70s, namely the Vietnam War and blossoming counter culture movement.
The Doors broke ground with Krieger’s infamous composition and #1 hit "Light My Fire," which oddly enough, stands as the first song he ever composed. Moreover, the film documents Morrison’s frenzied and psyched out stage antics including the infamous Miami concert where he allegedly exposed himself, although no documented photos of this event were uncovered. And the album "Soft Parade," signified the first time the band members were respectively credited with compositions.
After the Miami incident, many followers lost their taste for the band’s crazy, dirty and wild antics. Hence, a stigma surfaced to coincide with bashing by the global press. This documentary also relates external factors, such as the influence producer Bruce Botnik had with the musicians. And Morrison was a rock poet and published a book of poems. Subsequently, The Doors regrouped after Morrison’s self-imposed hiatus and recorded the jazz and blues inspired, "L.A. Woman."
Morrison moved to Paris with his longtime lady friend Pamela Courson, yet the vocalist was found dead in a Paris apartment bathtub on July 3, 1971. His binge drinking and drug use took its toll and ended the career of major talent, despite his self-destructive lifestyle. This movie provides a great deal of information on the singer’s upbringing and how he promoted himself to his fan base. There are bonus features including the first public interview with the singer’s father, Admiral George C. Morrison USN (Ret.). In sum, it’s a superb documentary that charts the rise and fall of this exceptionally talented and irrefutably unique rock ensemble.