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The Doors: Collector's Edition

review by James S.


Not Rated

Running Time: 229 minutes

Starring Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger

Studio: Universal

Directed by Ray Manzarek, Rick Schmidlin

Retail Price: $34.98

Features: Audio commentary, Ray Manzarek UCLA Film School shorts, Excerpts from John Densmore's one man play, Doors Photos, new version of "The End" with Robby Krieger, Doors Memorabilia

Specs: Full Screen, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, Chapter Search, English Captions

The beauty of DVD shines through as The Doors Collection from Universal gives you not one, but three Doors videos. The videos, Dance on Fire (originally produced in 1985), Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1987), and The Soft Parade (1991), give the Doors' fan three full-length videos at a special price. Both Dance on Fire and The Soft Parade mix concert footage with off-stage antics, including tour footage and interviews. The middle video, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, shows The Doors in concert at the famed venue. The music on the disc spans the entire career of The Doors, and casual fans will recognize quite a few of the songs. Die-hard fans of The Doors will appreciate the behind-the-scenes footage from concerts and studio sessions which provide an invaluable glance into the band. Great band, great music.

There are three primary full-length videos on The Doors Collection. Each video chronicles the band, and as such the video quality at times reflects the era of the band. The mix of television footage, movie camera quality scenes, and home videos makes the overall presentation spotty at best. The home videos have the grainy nature you would expect, yet even the more professionally shot scenes have a high degree of blur and grain.

This DVD is meant to be heard more than seen. However, even the sound suffers some problems early on. On Dance of Fire, clipping was heard in a few spots, but overall the sound was decent on that video. The live concert, captured in Live at the Hollywood Bowl, sounded great through headphones. The headphones captured the mids well. Without headphones, the room acoustics made lows and highs dominant. The concert, like the entire disc, is captured in traditional two-channel stereo. Furthermore, the music is laid back and subdued, capturing the Doors' approach. Unfortunately, the live footage is plagued with tape hiss in the background. However, considering the source material for the footage is over thirty year's old, the sound holds up remarkably well.

The features in The Doors Collection comprise about one-quarter of the length of the DVD. In addition to watching all three video collections with commentary from the surviving members of the band, the DVD contains two short films from member Ray Manzarek while he was a student at UCLA. The shorts, filmed in black and white, are actually quite interesting. A feature covering selected Doors memorabilia is included as well. This photographics journey with commentary shows items related to The Doors from all over the world. Another static feature, the photographs of Henry Diltz, includes narration from Diltz. Excerpts from John Densmore's one-man play were a little corny at times, though they did provide a first-hand account of the band. Finally, a video of "The End" by Robby Krieger is included. Krieger presents a new instrumental version of the classic song. The features on The Doors Collection really turned this from an average title to a good one.

Watching this DVD is like watching a television program from the '60s. The video quality is poor at times and average at best. Yet the music of The Doors is an experience of the ears. If you sit back and listen to the music, you will enjoy the disc. Admittedly, you can get most of the songs on other more portable formats. But Doors' fans won't be able to escape the strong features included on the DVD. The Doors Collection is a nice package.

(4/5, NOT included in final score)




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