I used to like Oliver Stone. His movie JFK was fascinating, and held true with the two books it was based upon: On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison (the prosecutor involved) and Crossfire: the Plot that Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. It was a movie and stuff had to be left out and summarized, but was still highly accurate. I also liked his movie The Doors- entertaining with an excellent soundtrack; illustrating a rock icon well. LikED is the key word here.
Woman -1971 L.A.
I tried years ago to read the book about the Doors by their old drummer, but ended up pitching it due to poor writing and an obvious seething towards the singer. It was more of a diatribe than a balanced history. Now recently, I read a newer book about the singer written by Stephen Davis. While his writing style is not my cup of tea, and I see no point in the frequent use of expletives- even when not for quoting- it was still a very thorough and somewhat balanced book. I question the author's orientation though, as his incessant gushing about Jim the Celtic God, the Dionysus, ad nauseum, is just a little overboard. He also makes the point about a hundred times that Morrison was most likely bisexual. A sickening thought that bore mentioning, but needn't have been repeated throughout the book. Having said that, the book was a very thorough biography that was just plain interesting.
After finishing it, I was truly disturbed about how Jim died. The conspiracies were well debunked, and the awful truth was laid out. In a nutshell, Jim died from bleeding out through his nose and mouth. (The oft-repeated statement that he died of heart failure is true I suppose, since your heart will fail if you bleed to death.) Why he died in a tub, and why no one called an ambulance for him even though he was obviously about to die all the day before, are matters I will not re-explain here. In the end it is sickening that any human would be treated that way, and the actions of his so-called girlfriend after his death speak volumes about her. The fact that he had no grave marker whatsoever for fifteen years also indicates his value to his heirs.
Another aftereffect of the book was that I realized the movie was just so wrong in so many places. I considered discarding my formerly favorite flick. It wasn't right. I finally watched it once more, taking notes this time. I couldn't resist writing in a few memorable quotes, ostensibly from Jim's old poems. I also noted twenty egregious errors in the movie. Much more than time compressions or character embellishments, these were items that were just plain wrong. Mr. Stone got carried away, away from the truth. (want the list? email me; i don't care to add it here.)
Perhaps the reason for all the errors are the two main people he seemed to consult to make the movie: the old drummer, who hated Jim; and, an obsessed fan who has been established as an attention craving liar. He credits the drummer's book at the end, and even gave a bit part to the crazed fan, while writing in all her fantastic claims (which she has no evidence of, and everyone who knew Jim disputes vehemently). So the movie is more or less this woman's fantasy realized: her fable was made into a major movie. In her own book, she admits her entire tale may have been a hallucination. Stone missed that line it seems...if he read her book at all. So the movie became a vehicle for her imagined claims.
I also have issue with two things in the film. One was an omission. Jim was beaten by cops on six occasions, and threatened by other cops numerous times. He was also framed twice and there was evidence the feds planned to have him killed. So omitting all this was careless, especially since the
concert was portrayed in the movie. He was arrested onstage in the middle of this concert for telling the crowd about the cop who maced him backstage for no reason. Then the cops drug him outside and beat him very badly and severely, while a Time photographer took photos. It was on the cover of Time in 1968. But Stone chose to completely omit this beating or any implication the cops did anything but arrest him politely. This omission was just not right. New Haven
The other issue I have is with the next to last scene where Jim died. The movie makes it appear that he passed peacefully while bathing, and Pam found him the next morning. It is a fact that Pam's parents- the right-holders to the music- told Stone they wouldn't allow any music or words of Jim's to be used in the movie unless he agreed not to implicate their daughter in any way in Jim's death. In this case, Stone should have just dropped the death scene and skipped to the cemetery scene, showing his grave. Pooh-poohing his death is disgraceful and beyond inaccurate. Please do not buy this movie.
I went ahead and threw away the movie I had wasted $5. on years ago.
If you want the music, poetry, or books, only buy the bare minimum- the 'best of' and rehashes are repeated tracks/poems for more profits to the wrong people. I also suggest obtaining just one of each, preferably used and not new- to avoid more undue profiteering. Here is a list of all original Doors and Morrison materials available:
They only made six albums:
The Doors -1967
Strange Days -1967
Waiting For the Sun -1968
Soft Parade -1969
Morrison Hotel -1970
(also random bootleg live recordings from 05/65 to 12/12/70. between the live and compilation stuff, there are nearly a hundred Doors albums out there now!)
[avoid the numerous compilation albums and one shit piece, 'an american prayer' which is Jim reciting poems with jazz music overdubbing: garbage]
His poems can be bought in three books:
The Lords and the New Creatures -1988?
Wilderness: the Lost Writings of Jim Morrison -1989
The American Night -1990 [not to be confused with 'an american prayer']
There are also three good videos made by/about the Doors:
Dance on Fire -1985
Feast of Friends
When You're Strange
A very few books about him are remotely accurate. Try these:
Jim Morrison- Life-Death-Legend -by Stephen Davis
The Doors on the Road -by Greg Shaw and David Dalton
A Feast of Friends -by Frank Lisciandro
The band made two more albums after he died, as a trio without Jim. Then later two of the original Doors- less the drummer- made a new band called "The Doors of the 21st Century" with the Cult's old singer and a new drummer. This band was basically sued out of existence by their former drummer. Don't buy their works either.
Everything else is a rehashed collection or is unpublished and in private ownership by his former friends and collectors. If I left anything out, let me know.
Buy selectively; buy used. Hail the poetic Lizard King.
(c) james platt
(c) james platt