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Oliver Stone, Get Your Facts Straight!
Some have said that Oliver Stone s The Doors was a realistic and accurate portrayal of Jim Morrison s life and The Doors musical escapades. Unfortunately, director Oliver Stone has a habit of putting his own beliefs and ideas into the mouths of his characters. This would not necessarily be bad if his characters were fictional. Jim Morrison and his fellow band members are real, and those who knew him best are still living.
The first major mistake that Stone made took place when Jim and Ray Manzarek (Kyle Maclachlan) were attending UCLA film school. A recreation of Jim s short student film is shown. In Stone s version there is quite a bit of what seems to be Nazi propaganda. Scenes of Hitler and his troops shouting and holding up Nazi flags are shown with Kilmer reading Jim s poetry in the background. The WWII footage in Jim s original film was grossly misrepresented. It was a funny, light scene with a large German girl dancing on a T.V. to American rock music in the background. Stone s version made Jim out to be a disciple of Adolf Hitler. In addition to all the anti-Semitism Stone placed in the film, he also had Kilmer misquoting Friedrich Nietzsche.
The scene at Andy Warhol s party was Stone s next mistake. Stone manages to make the other members of The Doors into the bad guys. Jim stands alone. It is an emotional scene that has Jim asking the other Doors to stay at the party because he doesn t know what could happen tonight, maybe death. All the members of the band were friends, friends that don t desert each other when they are in need. In reality, the other members of The Doors did not leave Jim at the party, and he never verbalized a premonition of anything bad happing. Stone may have needed something to move his plot further, but did he really have to slander others to do this? Another minor mistake that Stone made is that this event took place before the performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, not after.
The Ed Sullivan Show scene is the source for our next mistake. The Sullivan Show s producers inform the band that the word higher cannot be used on network T.V. In reality, Manzarek tells the producers that they will change the words. They have no intention of actually doing this, and all the band members get a good laugh. In Stone s version, once again we have Jim standing alone. All the Doors are telling him to change the word and Jim refuses to compromise. The incredible exaggeration of the word higher, and the cameramen accidentally focusing on Jim s pelvic area also never happened. There is actually a Doors home video with the Ed Sullivan performance on it. Stone obviously did not do his homework.
Although Oliver Stone has received acclaim for his portrayal of The Doors, some of those members still living are disturbed by how Stone has show them. All the discrepancies in Stone s version of The Doors lives should give some indication as to what type of filmmaker he is. Maybe he should stick to making movies about fictional characters instead of people who have lived.
Sources (outside of the film itself)
Manzarek, Ray. My Life with The Doors. New York: G.P. Putnam s Sons, 1998.
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