The 1980 film, D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage is finally back in print. The folks at MVD Entertainment Group have brought the film back into print in spectacular fashion. And at the end of this brief review will be your chance to win a copy of the Blu-Ray/DVD set.
Kids today don't understand how hard it was to view clips of certain bands back in the Eighties. Sure, there was MTV -- if your cable system carried it; ours didn't until I was 19 -- but it was unlikely that MTV was going to show clips of, say, The Dead Boys and Sham 69, right? So, even if you knew all of these punk records, and read Creem and other mags, it was unlikely you had ever seen the bands perform with any kind of real force and fury. This is precisely why D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage (1980) was so important, and such a vital and cherished document of the punk boom for those coming of age in its aftermath.
Ostensibly focused on the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols, the film contains a wealth of footage of not only that lot, but loads of other bands. Heck, I'd say that the live clip of X-Ray Spex performing "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" in a rehearsal room is worth the price of admission alone. Still, the Pistols clips are amazing and dispel those lingering doubters who said that the band was better on record, or just the punk Monkees or something. Seen here positively burning through numbers like "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save The Queen", the group seems still the sort of thing capable of starting a riot. And yet, as the film illustrates, their stops on their U.S. tour were greeted with a kind of car-crash curiosity as wannabe punks -- in some cases -- show up to wear funny shades and gawk at the Brit legends. Still, for those who do want to revel in the Pistols' dissolution, D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage (1980) does contain that famous clip of Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious positively strung out and still managing to be the most annoying couple on earth. Tragic and oddly funny, the clip is just unlike any other rock star interview bit you've seen in any other film.
Apart from the Sex Pistols material, the film is rife with other vital punk acts. Aside from the previously-mentioned X-Ray Spex, Billy Idol and Generation X turn in a blistering punk-pop performance, and Sham 69 drop a few live versions of some of their better tunes. On this side of the Atlantic, Dead Boys tear things apart with a fury that many may have forgotten they possessed.
The concert bits are interspersed with clips of Brits wandering around and dealing with the hellishly-drab conditions of Britain circa 1977. These segments are fascinating time capsules of how grim things were, even as Yanks were disco-dancing with abandon on these shores. D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage (1980) serves still as a nice portrait of how bad things were in England, and why punk had to happen, at least in the United Kingdom, as youth rage positively boiled over with good reason.
The bonus features on D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage are listed below:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature
Original 2.0 Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
12-page booklet with liner notes written by John Holmstrom, founding editor of PUNK Magazine
Dead On Arrival: The Punk Documentary That Almost Never Was - A feature-length documentary about the making of D.O.A. A Rite of Passage produced by award-winning filmmaker (and former MTV Senior Producer) Richard Schenkman (HD)
2-Sided Poster included
Original Theatrical Trailer
Limited Edition Retro 'Video Store Style' Slipcover / O-Card (First Pressing Only)
Rare Sex Pistols photo gallery
And, for whatever the faults inherent in its original construction as a feature, D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage remains the most vital look at British punk ever committed to film in the era. Certainly there's little of The Clash here, but they've got their own Rude Boy film. For the sheer volume of Sex Pistols footage here, and the clips of a few other important acts, D.O.A.: A Rite Of Passage remains the definitive portrait of an era whose best records continue to inspire so many musicians and fans even now. The folks at MVD Entertainment Group have done an amazing job with this one.
I have one extra copy of this set to give to one reader courtesy of MVD Entertainment Group. Please email your name and address to me here at kenixfan [at] gmail [dot] com.