There’s an almost startling intrigue — an odd vibrancy — to the non-concert footage of Jim Morrison in Tom DeCillo‘s When You’re Strange . Nobody has seen this footage, which is basically of Morrison driving and walking in the Southern California desert in a kind of dramatic or “acted” context. For this alone the doc is worth seeing.
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek (and producer of the doc) tells Movieline’s Stu VanAirsdale that “we’ve had the footage in storage, in one of those temperature-controlled storage vaults in Hollywood like you should do with all your film and all your tapes. It was there. It had been sitting there waiting to go to work — in cold storage. The footage said, ‘Any time you want to use us, we’re in shape here. We just need some processing.’ We had everything archived and just went to work on it.'”
I paid a visit to Morrison’s grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris about 22 years ago. This was when a marble bust of Morrison was still on top of the gravestone. Everything was covered in spray paint and graffiti. Empty bottles of alcohol, cigarette packs, butts and roaches littered the ground directly in front of it.