New Janis Joplin documentary serves up decent footage

“Janis Joplin – Final 24: Her final hours”
MVD Visual (MVD4977D)
★★★

By Chris M. Junior

There’s just something about celebrity deaths – especially the stars who die young and tragically – that fascinates the public. In recent years, Cineflix UK, a London-based production company, has done its part to service those folks interested in late icons with its “Final 24” series of hour-long TV documentaries.

Cineflix’s Janis Joplin episode, now on DVD, follows the same format as its other “Final 24” titles, combining re-enactments, archival footage and recent interviews with key figures in her life. This storytelling style has its benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, the documentary really wants to emphasize Joplin’s last 24 hours alive and amp up the circumstances leading to the singer’s death (from a heroin overdose at age 27 in 1970). But some longer sections that focus on a previous point in her career slow down the momentum and negatively impact the main objective.

Nevertheless, there’s some good stuff here, particularly the interviews with Joplin manager John Byrne Cooke, her high school friend Jim Langdon and several of her former band mates, as well as clips of Joplin performing at 1967’s Monterey International Pop Music Festival and being interviewed by Dick Cavett.

For more information on this DVD, click here.



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• Check out the book on classic guitars: “Classic Guitars, Identification and Price Guide,” By Nick Freeth

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