Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Doors

We watched Oliver Stone's The Doors in class this week--an excessive movie about excess. The first part of the movie corresponds to Carey McWilliams's famous (and much earlier) description of Los Angeles: "Here the American people were erupting, like lava from a volcano."

The best scene might be The Doors' performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Morrison flagrantly defies the producer's instruction to sanitize the lyrics of "Light My Fire." Whereupon the producer flips out and swears that The Doors will never do the Ed Sullivan Show again. In real life, Morrison reportedly responded, "Hey, we just did the Ed Sullivan Show."


At 10:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my money the second best scene has to be the one set to "Love Street," the one in which Morrison climbs a tree and enters his future wife's apartment (house?) by way of the window--meeting thereby, not just her, but also the persons at the party she happens to be hosting (including her current boyfriend!). You might expect something farcical to happen--something out of fablieux. Rather, it is a scene of erotic recognition--or, beyond the erotic, something profoundly emotional. Yet farce ensues in the later scenes that present JM as a drunk, abusive house-husband. It would seem that his music and mysticism are being opposed by Stone to his emotional life, with the latter acting as a drag on the former--indeed, constituting a cul-de-sac. And, somehow, Stone seems to anticipate this ultimate sad truth about love street (for poeple like JM, it's a dead end) in the very scene set on Love street. The sadness of the song seems to color the scene...

Brian May

At 4:44 PM , Blogger Peter Richardson said...

Yes, that's an even more unusual moment in the film. Did Pam's boyfriend have any kind of chance after that?

Maybe Pam thought twice at the (much later) dinner party when Jim accidentally burns the duck, quite intentionally stomps on it, thrusts the carving knife into her hand, and asks her to stab him. Or when he lights their closet on fire--with her in it, high on heroin.

Another odd moment is when the band is in the studio and Jim happens to see a Ford television ad with a comically chipper version of "Light My Fire." He works himself up into a rage and hurls the television across the room. Pam enters just after the television smashes against the studio wall, and Ray is staring daggers at Jim. Jim then says with mock wholesomeness, "Oh hi, honey. We were just watching a little television." It's especially funny to imagine Jim, who's committed to the most intense forms of experience, sitting on a sofa docilely watching television.


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