Doors Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman, Blu-ray (2012)

by | Apr 5, 2012 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Doors Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman, Blu-ray (2012)
Featuring interviews with Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Bruce Botnick, Ben Fong-Torres, Michael McClure, and many others.
Chapters: Early Doors; The Changeling; Been Down So Long/The Miami Effect; The Doors Workshop; Crawling King Snake; Love Her Madly; L.A. Woman; The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat); Riders On The Storm; Cars Hiss By My Window; Hyacinth House; Closing Doors
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment [1/24/2012]
Director: Martin R. Smith
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080i HD
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM Stereo
Extras: Additional documentary footage, previously unreleased track, “She Smells So Nice”
Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: ****1/2

Forty years after the death of Jim Morrison, the legacy of the Doors continues to be explored. A brief incendiary career marked the ascension one of America’s iconic rock bands. Much has been written about the stage antics of Morrison, but this was a cohesive musical group. Their psychedelic bluesy vision of a “film noir” Los Angeles produced unforgettable albums. Dark and mysterious, the music of Ray Manzarek (piano, organ), Robby Krieger (guitar), John Densmore (drums) and charismatic front man Jim Morrison (lyricist) symbolized the disaffected anti-social perspective of the counterculture. With a jazz-like instrumental lineup of keyboards, guitar and drums, Morrison’s poetic imagery was transformed into a sound forever associated with The Doors.
In the fall of 1970, the group decided to self-produce their upcoming album, and record at their rehearsal studio. Relying on a blues vibe (that also graced the prior release, Morrison Hotel), the final record of the original Doors was completed. Immediately following these sessions, Morrison moved to France and died in 1971.
The Doors Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman is a fascinating reconstruction of the Doors finale. At the core of the interviews are Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore. Knowing that Morrison was leaving for Paris, the project took on a genial quality (similar to the Beatles’ Abby Road sessions). The band members reveal informative story lines on the linear progression of the cuts, and many little known facts. Often parts of the record (filmed with vintage photographs and footage of band) are edited directly into live re-creations of music. Manzarek demonstrates riffs that emanated from Blood Sweat And Tears (on the title track) and Chopin (Hyacinth House). Producer, Bruce Botnick presents the material on an eight track console, isolating each member’s contributions. A lot of time (deservedly so) is dedicated to the centerpiece, “L.A. Woman”. The gritty subtext and jazz influences of this number help to paint a quintessential picture of the City of Angels. Small revelations, including the fact that the refrain “Mr. Mojo Risin’” is an anagram for Morrison enhances the ambiance.
Also compelling is the back story on another monumental cut, “Riders On The Storm”. The basic melody was inspired by “Ghost Riders In The Sky” (with some black and white footage of Vaughn Monroe). Interspersing the narration with commentary from the remaining Doors, Botnick and others is effective. The career of the band, including the unpredictable theatrics and  synergy of the quartet reaffirm the spontaneous creative explosion that was…The Doors.
The sound quality (Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM Stereo) is crisp and emphasizes the unique sound of this band. The high definition/Blu-ray transfer is also top notch.  Bonus features include an additional thirty-five minutes of footage. A rare, live performance of “She Smells So Nice” underscores the prowess of The Doors as a live band (unfortunately, there is not enough of this included in the documentary).
Whether you are a fan of The Doors or not, The Doors Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman is  “must see” rock history.
—Robbie Gerson

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