In an age when Franz Ferdinand can release a two-disc DVD set after only two albums, it’s easy to forget how little video footage exists of the great performers of rock’s past, and that’s what makes this DVD such a revelation. Culled from over forty hours of footage famed rock photographer Bob Gruen shot 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 preening in front of mirrors.
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 friends 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 “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 Gruen’s still photos of the band with accompanying commentary, and Gruen, Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen doing a commentary track. 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.