Feast Of Friends
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Review Date: November 16, 2014
In April of 1968, filming began for what would become the first and only film produced about The Doors, by The Doors. Funded by the band and helmed by friend and fellow film graduate Paul Ferrara, the footage shot for this film would become the well from which the majority of future documentaries and music videos about the band would draw. This film became “Feast of Friends,” as Paul Ferrara thought it was a great lyric to use for the title. Other than a few appearances in film festivals the following year, an official release would never be seen.
After an extensive and painstaking remastering endeavor, Doors Property, LLC and Eagle Rock Entertainment once again offer fans of THE DOORS the never-before-released documentary film produced by the band. “Feast of Friends” is an intimate and rare look at the explosive rock band that is finally being released to fans 45 years. Shelved due to lead singer Jim Morrison’s legal issues, the uncompleted film was only ever seen at a few film festivals and was never completed.
The film’s existence has scarcely been known beyond the circle of diehard Doors fans. By many accounts, the original source of that bootleg is thought to have been Morrison’s own copy, which he hand-carried when he moved to Paris in 1971 after recording what would be The Doors’ final album. Concealed in a paper bag and forgotten at a friend’s house, Morrison would never reclaim it, as he passed suddenly a few days later.
“Feast of Friends” offers a cinematic look at The Doors on the road during their summer ’68 tour. Whilst never truly completed, as the production funding was abruptly cut due to the band’s political problems stemming from Jim’s arrest in Miami, the film provides a stylistic approach in true 60’s cinéma vérité style. The film is comprised of concert performances which are intercut with fly-on-the-wall footage of the group in their natural habitat - playful, sensitive, chaotic and touching.
Other than a few appearances in film festivals in 1968, this is the first official release. Completely restored from the original negative, as supervised by Jim Morrison, the film has been color-corrected and mastered in high definition with the soundtrack totally remixed and remastered by long-time Doors co-producer/engineer Bruce Botnick.
As well as the full version of “Feast of Friends,” this amazing release contains three important bonus features. The first is “Feast of Friends: Encore.” A newly produced feature using footage shot for “Feast of Friends,” “Encore” is a complimentary piece that provides a deeper look into the life of the band during this period as they tour, record, travel and even vacation together. The program avoids the typical selection of hits and makes use of The Doors’ rare recordings to accompany this unreleased footage. “Encore” showcases the band’s recording process as The Doors record one of their biggest hits, “Wild Child.”
Viewers will follow the band as they break from touring to sightsee, play poker in their hotel room and witness an unedited interaction with Jim and the “Minister at Large” who attempts to determine “just what the hell it is (they’re) doing.” Fans will also see a newly unearthed solo backstage performance by a singing Robby Krieger, a poem by Jim Morrison (while, in the background, you can hear Ray Manzarek’s piano work on “Love Street”), a never-before-seen altercation with legendary photographer Richard Avedon, a tranquil scene of Jim and his friends at peace in the cool waters of the Kern River, and much more.
The documentary paints a chaotic yet gentle picture of the humanistic side of The Doors seldom captured by anyone - at that time or since. At one moment Morrison is fighting off legions of ravenous fans while at the same time taunting them to keep pressing on.
“Feast of Friends” is an historical piece of 60’s filmmaking that is important to both The Doors’ fans and the wider world of cinema. Just in time for the holidays, this DVD is a perfect gift for any fan of The Doors on your shopping list.
- Written by Randy Patterson
Feast Of Friends