The Punk Vault

New York Dolls – Lookin’ fine on Television

A nice companion piece to the All Dolled Up DVD though not nearly as essential. Still a nice time capsule from the past.
Rating: ★★★½☆ 

New York Dolls – Lookin’ fine on Television DVD
MVD Visual

In the early 1970’s, Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya Beck spent the better part of three years following the New York Dolls around and filming them on a black and white video camera they had recently purchased.  They got some great footage of the Dolls when they were on their rise both with live footage and interviews with the band on tour. A lot of that footage was pieced together to make a documentary titled All Dolled Up that was released a few years ago on DVD. They’ve now dipped into their footage once again to put together another DVD and that is this new release, Lookin’ Fine on Television.

While All Dolled Up was edited and paced more like a documentary, Lookin’ Fine on Television is more like a collection of music videos woven together with interview footage in between them. Each song’s performance features a live recording from one of the shows they filmed but the accompanying video footage was taken from multiple shows the two shot and edited together like a music video. The footage is all black and white and of varying quality but for the technology of the time it held up well thankfully. The footage shows the band on the rise and in their prime and is a great time capsule. The performances chosen as the audio were all super energetic and sounds good. The interview footage was often interesting and sometimes incoherent but again was a nice snapshot of a time long gone and shows off the various subjects’ personalities well.

The main feature runs 70 minutes long and is the 4:3 (full frame) aspect ratio and is all in black and white. The sound is stereo and it sounds good especially for its age. There is one bonus feature which is a 20 minute interview with David Johanssen outside a club in New York  which was shot after the Dolls had broken up. David is soon joined by Johnny Thunders and it was clear that they were still friendly after the Dolls had broken up and was a light-hearted fun little interview.

While not as essential as All Dolled Up, this new DVD makes for a nice companion piece to its predecessor and will make a nice addition to hardcore New York Dolls fans. Those of you with a more casual interest may want to try All Dolled Up first and if it leaves you wanting more (as it did me when it was released) then grab yourself one of these to go with it.

1 comment

  • I have All Dolled Up and am wondering how much overlap there is here. Are the spliced video performances largely from full All Dolled Up performances? I am curious why you think All Dolled Up is more essential. For one, Fine On Television appears shorter. Thanks.


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