A jukebox movie of sorts, Danny Says takes us through The Beatles, The Stooges, Iggy Pop and any number of famed 60’s/70’s acts, told through the eyes and experience of behind the scenes music icon and prolific manager Danny Fields.
Interviews, archival footage, music videos and an eclectic collection of rock fill up a power chord heavy two hour soundtrack as Fields jumps from act to act in a greatest hits exploration of the celebrated era of music. His notable presence and impact on an enviable selection of performers is as much a part of the documentary as an exploration of the era itself, also chronicling artists including Bob Dylan and The Sex Pistols with whom Fields did not has as strong an association.
The varied and surprising group of talented musicians Fields had access to over the course of his career is both the documentary’s strength and weakness. Fascinating to cover their careers and cultural influence through Field’s unique contribution, the film’s impact is diluted by hopping between too many acts at once, and is most interesting when covering in detail his little-known relationships with iconic acts including The Doors, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen and The Ramones.
The manager for the latter, an entire documentary could have focused on his efforts to become The Ramones go-to guy and propel them to international acclaim. Field’s captivating and unusual relationships with The Doors’ Jim Morrison and the Fab Four alone could have held our attention; the documentary’s focus occasionally getting bogged down when detailing Field’s less notable interactions with still influential and iconic musicians.
An uncommon insight into music history and some of its key players, Danny Says is most engaging for its sweeping collection of rock’s greatest hits and its subject’s fascinating influence on some of the genre’s most epochal performers.
Danny Says is currently screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival