I really didn't know what to expect from Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours. That awkwardly worded "if it bleeds, it leads" title and the insensitive "shocker" cover were enough to give me pause, but I really started to get worried when I saw the guy on the cover and in all the artwork wasn't actually the Who drummer but the actor who plays him in the documentary's re-enactments. What kind of crass grave robbing was this going to be?
Thankfully, these macabre P.T. Barnum tactics are largely a ruse. Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours is part of a series of "last day" programs produced for cable television in 2006 and 2007--hence, the fade-outs where commercials would go and the multiple recaps mid-program. (Someone should tell whoever put the box art together that the show was 60 minutes commercials included; take the commercials out, and it's less than 50.) Though the documentary does have a countdown doomsday clock that starts at 24 and works its way down, this is no Jack Bauer-like blow-by-blow as the title or the gimmick might imply. Instead, Moon's final day is used as an excuse to continually backtrack and explore his history, including his early life, his time with the Who, and various personal tragedies relating to drugs and alcohol. In truth, he died in his sleep and the final third of his day is spent in bed. Final 24 pushes even its own ghoulish standards with the awful writing that comes when his body is found. The narrator says, "He was still dead to the world." No, you idiot, he was actually just dead.
Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours combines archival footage and photographs of Moon with "A Current Affair" style dramatic re-enactments of different events. We are spared any actual dialogue in these, it's all voiceover. Interspersed in this history are new interviews with friends (Alice Cooper, Small Faces-drummer Kenney Jones (who replaced Moon in the Who), his personal assistant Peter Butler, professional groupie Pamela Des Barres), biographers, business associates (Richard Barnes, tour manager John Wolff), and also members of Moon's family, including his daughter Amanda De Wolf and his girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax. She actually is the one who found Keith in bed, and I resent the way the producers manipulate footage of her to draw out her sadness (like we won't notice you switching to slow motion to catch that tear). Other than stuff like that, however, it's a fairly straight-up-and-down news program.
A standard widescreen presentation looks pretty good. It's of cable broadcast quality, free of blemish and with decent resolution.
The Dolby Mix is uncomplicated and clear. This is essentially a news program, so the mix is about as fancy as it needed to be.
I don't see any indication of any subtitle tracks.
None. This disc is as bare bones as they come.
Interest in the DVD of Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours is going to be dependent on your fascination with the drummer. The information is good, and there is a decent amount crammed into a short running time. On the other hand, one episode of a TV show is pretty slight in terms of an overall package, and there is probably less than two minutes of actual music used in the whole thing. There are plenty of more extensive Who documentaries on the market (Amazing Journey being one of the best) that are probably a better investment for your personal collection. Keith Moon - Final 24: His Final Hours is more of a Rent It.
Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with JoŽlle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent project is the comedy series Spell Checkers, again with Jones and artist Nicolas Hitori de. Follow Rich's blog at Confessions123.com.