In an age when a band like Franz Ferdinand can release a two-disc DVD set after only two albums, it’s easy to forget how little video footage exists of some of the great performers of rock’s past, and that’s what makes a DVD like this such a revelation. Culled from over forty hours of footage famed rock photographer Bob Gruen took of The New York Dolls on an early black and white video camera, All Dolled Up includes some great live performances, interviews, candid backstage footage, and shots of the band preening in front of the mirror.
Although the video is crudely shot and the audio is far from pristine, this is still an important release for Dolls fans. Because Bob Gruen was so close with the band, he had full access to film them at all times, and managed to capture the true essence of a band that most people have never seen much of outside of a few photos. He captures the drunken buffoonery, the backstage groupies and, most hilariously, the looks of outrage the band got from the “straight society”.
The bonus features don’t disappoint either. You can choose between the performances from the film in an unedited form, an interview between Bob Gruen and Dictators singer Handsome Dick Manitoba, a look at Bob Gruen’s still photos of the band with accompanying commentary from Gruen, and an audio commentary track for the entire movie done by Gruen and the two survivng Dolls, Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen. All in all, it’s a handsome package and kudos to Music Video Distributors for putting out yet another important piece of American rock history.