Unadulterated trash, trash, trash. I Love it!
One of the greatest Bad Films ever made. The acting is a master class in high camp--Patty Duke acts as if she's DARING the Academy to take her Oscar back, and Susan Hayward is right there with her. The costumes are on point, the songs are divine, the story is hilarious. It's so wrong it's right, which is why after multiple viewings I can honestly say this is legitimately one of my favorite movies of all time!
Enjoyed this movie for the cheesiness in the romantic scenes, the devastatingly real and sad moments reflecting the drawbacks of fame, and the vintage fashion and makeup looks. Especially sad to see Sharon Tate in such a poignant role considering we lost her far too soon.
Deliriously sixties camp classic, adapted from Jackie Susann's gleefully trashy "Hollywood insider" novel. (The main characters were supposedly loosely based on real-life legends Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and, uh.... Ethel Merman.)
Susan Hayward does the Merm-like turn as Helen Lawson, the brassy, beloved and aging Broadway diva threatened by vibrant newcomer Neely O'Hara, played by Patty Duke. This is an odd twist given that Neely was reportedly conceived as a "young Judy"-type and the great Judy herself was originally cast as Helen. The fragile Garland, undermined by drugs, alcohol, and constant money worries, probably found the whole Helen-Neely dynamic too close for comfort. She fell apart not long into the filming and was replaced by Hayward.
I forget who Anne Welles, the cool and classy New Englander played by brunette beauty Barbara Parkins is supposed to be. Rumor has it author Susann wrote Anne as an (extremely) idealized version of herself. And the marvelous Lee Grant--what on earth is she doing in this mess?
Eh, it doesn't matter. Nor do the "Valley of the Dolls" men--Paul ("The Naked City") Burke, Martin ("Adam-12") Milner, and Tony Scotti, (whose acting career disappeared without a trace after the release of the movie)--it's all about the dolls.
The most memorable doll is the radiantly lovely Sharon Tate, quite poignant as the tragic starlet Jennifer North. Jennifer, Monroe-like, dies not knowing her true beauty and self-worth and it is impossible to watch her story line without thinking of Tate's horrible real-life fate. She was butchered--there is no other way to describe what happened to her and her unborn son--by the deranged Charles Manson and his wretched "Family" in August of 1969.
(The grisly crime, and the eventual capture and trial of the Manson Family, is chronicled in prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's gripping "Helter Skelter.")
This 2-disc set includes a number of special features, notably a dishy commentary track provided by the ever-elegant Parkins (who reveals she might have been one of the ill-fated house guests on the night of the Manson murders but happened to be on her way to London when she got the invite from Sharon) and the arch E! News correspondent Ted Casablanca, who cheerfully admits he took his name from the character in the movie.
Worth a look, if you're in the proper mood for it. Check out the documentary, "Gotta Get Off This Merry-Go-Round: Sex, Dolls, and Showtunes" for some enlightening and very entertaining perspective. A definite plus is the haunting Andre and Dory Previn love theme movingly sung by the peerless Dionne Warwick, "Theme From the Valley of the Dolls."
Couldnt watch more than 10minutes, just not my thing, but I truly tried.
I had no idea this movie had a drag-queen and gay men cult following (see the critics' narratives in bonus features). In fact, I had no idea what the movie was about at all but I'd recognized the title for years, so I checked it out. I wasn't impressed. Significant in its exposure of the rampant Hollywood pill-poppers and the grisly aftermath, with Judy Garland's example, brief involvement and sad demise as a prime illustration. Extremely dated and somewhat bizarre. A twenty year old Patty Duke shows talent but *really* overacts. Barbara Parkins was mostly looks and little substance. My focus was primarily on Sharon Tate, one of the ill-fated victims of the Helter Skelter/Manson murders, who conveyed a sweetness and gentleness that was quite affecting, even beyond her good looks. Dionne Warwick's/Burt Bacharach's theme song was another haunting highlight for me. I will check out the Russ Meyer/Roger Ebert sequel, "Beyond the VOTD", just out of morbid curiosity.
Before "Reality TV" we had Valley of the Dolls. Here is a movie with some GREAT talent playing it all the way ham. I hope they enjoyed making it as much as I had watching it. Keep your real Housewives I'll take VOTD any day.
C'mon, now - This sensationally sleazy piece of trash from the screwy 60s really should've been a whole lot better - 'Cause, believe me, it couldn't have possibly gotten much worse. ~~~ The way I see it, the frequent, unintentional laughs that occurred throughout Valley Of The Dolls (VOTD) did absolutely nothing to compensate for all of the terrible "everything else" stuff that took place in this disappointingly dumb picture. ~~~ In a nutshell - VOTD's decidedly drab and seemingly uneventful story revolves around the ups and downs and all-arounds of 3 ambitious young beauties breaking into show biz and their inevitable "introduction" (nudge-nudge-wink-wink) into NYC society. ~~~ Trivia notes - The so-called "dolls" that are referred to in this film's title is a slang term used for barbiturates that are taken as sleep aids. ~~~ Made on an estimated $5 million budget, VOTD (as of 1973) had earned itself $50 million, worldwide. ~~~ To date, Jacqueline Susann's garbage novel of the same name has sold over 30 million copies, worldwide. ~~~ VOTD is considered to be one of the top 100 "Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made" - But, I'll tell you something .... I was not amused.
This is enjoyable cheesy and silly, but the absurdly and awesomely over the top sequel is much better.
If I had not read the book, I would not have understood what was going on.
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