New York Doll Movie


The New York Doll movie is a 78 minutes documentary film that was first released in 2005. It is an engaging film that documents the life of Arthur Kane popularly known as ‘Killer’ Kane. Arthur Kane was a former member of the popular rock band called The New York Dolls. The film goes back to the formation of the group in 1972, and highlights how a group of passionate glam rockers created a name for themselves. The movie focuses on Kane who was the bassist of the band. His title ‘Killer’ Kane was actually acquired because of his captivating bass lines.


The film documents the perils that come with rock star fame. Kane faces all manner of troubles from drug abuse to alcoholism and even an attempt at suicide. From rocking at the top, Kane quickly finds himself in a hole of bitterness, drunkenness and failure. As he is forced out of the band, he loses his soul and leads a life of great poverty and misery. As Arthur Kane is watching TV one day, he sees his former band mate and mortal enemy David Johansen on TV. Johansen’s success and relevance drives Kane off the edge as he is consumed with envy, jealously and rage. In fact, after downing a large amount of liquor, he beats his wife and jumps off the window of his sorry apartment.

Somehow, Kane also views Johansen as a ‘savoir’ in a way. But first, their differences must be overcome for there to be a ray of hope. Kane dreams of going back to the glory days of rock star fame and fortune. To this end, he strives to reconnect with purpose and turn around his ill habits for a better shot at success. ‘Killer’ Kane finds peace in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Becoming a Mormon gives him some renewed faith and hope at becoming a better man. All this while, he is striving to conquer loneliness, poverty and alcoholism.

Luckily for Kane, his stars align for his good. David Johansen his sworn rival makes arrangements for the band to reunite in a performance. Kane learns this news with great excitement as he buries the hatchet with Johansen. The New York Dolls put up a riveting performance in London and Kane couldn’t feel more alive. His glory days could be coming back. When the Dolls reunite, they plan on touring some more and reconnecting with new and old fans.

As Kane is getting ready to tour with the Dolls, he passes away suddenly from leukemia. This is indeed a poignant story of rock stardom and hitting rock bottom. It is also a story of recovery and finding purpose albeit for a short time. Kane may have lived with bitterness for 30 years but he died a better man. He had achieved his dream by performing one more time with the Dolls and finding faith.


The overwhelming rock and roll theme is unmissable. The documentary explores the very familiar recurring theme of rock star fame and misery. From drug problems to suicide and alcohol, the world of rock seems to be mired by misfortune. Nevertheless, this story confirms that it is not all gloom and doom for former rock stars. Many have been redeemed and ‘Killer’ Kane was a good example.


The documentary features Kane himself together with former band mates David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain. Morrissey is also featured and he is the one who helped organize the New York Dolls reunion festival in London. Other notable cast members in this film include Bob Geldof, Steve Conte, Mick Jones, Don Letts, Chrissie Hynde, Iggy Pop, Barbara Kane; among many others. After its launch in 2005, New York Doll received a couple of nominations. It was nominated for both a Grand Jury Prize and Satellite Award.

It is worth noting that this documentary was shot using digital camcorders and received great reviews in Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 90%. This movie was basically centered on the reunion of the Dolls and their subsequent performance in London. In a shocking twist of fate, Kane returned home from London with a cold. What he thought was the flu was confirmed to be leukemia at an LA hospital. It was only 22 days after the reunion concert and within two hours of getting the diagnosis at the hospital, Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane passed away in 2004 at 55 years old.