THE DOORS: THE SOFT PARADE is the third documentary on the Doors put out by MCA/Universal Home Video--the two previous films are THE DOORS: DANCE ON FIRE and THE DOORS: LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL--and promoted as "The Real Music, The Real Story, The Real Jim Morrison," a none-too-subtle
reference to Oliver Stone's fictionalized 1991 examination of the Doors and the 60s milieu in which they developed.
Directed by Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek, THE SOFT PARADE features a mix of performance, rehearsal and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as historic interviews with Doors members Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Manzarek himself. It's easily the least interesting film of the
three; it's obvious there wasn't much good footage left. The greatest weakness of SOFT PARADE is undoubtedly that it is forced to rely on footage of the Doors late in their career, when the bearded, bloated Morrison looked very little like the rock and roll Dionysus in leather pants who seduced
audiences with "Light My Fire." It also suffers from the fact that footage of most of the Doors' hits--"Light My Fire," "LA Woman," "Break on Through" and the rest--was used in the previous films; SOFT PARADE is left with the dregs.
SOFT PARADE's best three minutes is the montage that accompanies "Hello, I Love You," which plays over the closing credits: shots of a young, handsome Morrison alternate with a pretty girl in a mini skirt, dancing on the street. The footage--and the music--feel fresh and hopeful, rock and roll at
its most optimistic. Easily the film's worst sequence is Morrison's impromptu "Ode to Friedrich Nietzsche," a rambling monologue, with piano, delivered in the green room of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Morrison's pretentious and pointless babble is embarrassing in the extreme. "The Unknown
Soldier" falls somewhere in between. The sequence is elaborately edited footage of the Doors onstage during several different concerts intercut with images of war; it's not what the MTV generation expects from music video, but there's an idea there, and Morrison's performance--or rather,
The interview material is largely uninteresting. Morrison talks about Shamanism and the roots of rock and roll in the fusion of Blues and Country music traditions; he doesn't have much to say that hasn't been said before. Only his prediction about the future of rock--he envisions isolated
individuals making music with the help of sophisticated machinery--is right on the money. THE DOORS: THE SOFT PARADE isn't a successful documentary; no one who didn't already know why the Doors were important to the history of rock music would be any the wiser after watching it.
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE DOORS: THE SOFT PARADE is the third documentary on the Doors put out by MCA/Universal Home Video--the two previous films are THE DOORS: DANCE ON FIRE and THE DOORS: LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL--and promoted as "The Real Music, The Real Story, The Real J… (more)