Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
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Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert collaborated on the screenplay for Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. This psychedelic satire of Hollywood has become a cult classic. Kelly (Dolly Read), Casey (Cynthia Meyers) and Pet (Marcia McBroom) are the trio of aspiring rockers who come to Hollywood with dreams of gold records. Their manager Harris Allsworth (David Gurian) gets the girls an audience with eccentric record producer Ronnie Barzell (John LaZar). Edy Williams is the vamp who makes love to Harris anywhere as long as it's not in bed. All end up at a wild drug party that turns into an orgy, with Barzell dressing up like Superwoman and hitting on the girls. There is a triple wedding, four murders, the last being a beheading while the 20th Century-Fox theme music is played. Meyer through this in as a protest over the X rating for the film, later rescinded to R. Rock group The Strawberry Alarm Clock appears in the film. Neither Meyer nor Ebert had ever read Jacqueline Susan's original novel "Valley Of The Dolls", which was made into a film in 1966. This was the first major studio effort for Meyer, who had previously focuses on independent sexploitation films. The character of Bazell was loosely based on legendary record producer Phil. Spector. Neither Meyer or Ebert had ever met the man. … More
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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
This trashy, gaudy, sound-stage vulgarity about low life among the high life is as funny as a burning orphanage.
With his first movie for a major studio, Meyer simply did what he'd been doing for years, only bigger and better.
Any movie that Jacqueline Susann thinks would damage her reputation as a writer cannot be all bad. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls isn't -- which is not to say it is any good.
A psychedelic wow that serves up the free love, plunging necklines, androgynous boys, and lusty lezzies of the era with a narcotized abandon.
Although it would not be appropriate for me to review it or give it a star rating, I offer the following observations written for Film Comment magazine on the occasion of the movie's 10th anniversary in 1980.
A funky, wonky, and entertaining jolt into the decade that bred free loving, hipster rockers, and hippies...
The very definition of self-conscious camp, certainly not Art but much too intelligent for Trash.
An outrageously entertaining cult classic, and probably one of the most bizarre movies ever produced by a major Hollywood studio.
One of the strangest and wildest cult flicks to be ever financed by a major studio (Fox), this sequel has not aged well but it serves as a time capsule to its era.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is one of the most incomprehensible films I have ever seen.
Schlock most famous due to Roger Ebert's screenplay.
As his overactive jump cuts prove, Meyer directs films as though he's perpetually on the cusp of a fantastic orgasm.
Audience Reviews for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Hilariously bizarre and well-paced in its escalation of insanity, this Roger Ebert-scripted film is, nonetheless, a sleazy and roughly-edited work of nonsense. It has a lot to say, and even more to show, but it ultimately doesn't feel like it's about anything in general.More
This movie is a semi spoof of Valley of the Dolls, and it's very funny. The girls find themselves in crazy situations, there's a lot of crazy orgy parties, and the characters are crazy too. A classic cult film, check it out, I love it.More
I have no idea what the fuck I just watched, but I kind of loved it. This is High Camp, effortless and energetic and unironically involving. I was totally submerged in the bizarre plot until the last ten minutes or so, which I think is an incredible triumph on Russ Meyer's part, until I realized that a woman was being chased around by a breasted man in a cape calling himself Superwoman. There are some things that you simply CAN'T suspend disbelief for, but the movie isn't any weaker for it...it just kicks it back to camp land.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls will probably have zero crossover appeal to anyone who doesn't like shitty movies, which makes me sad. I wouldn't even try to initiate a friend with this, either. The drop into awfulness is very steep and played almost totally straight, which I really admire Dolls for. The only irony you find in the movie is blink-and-you'll-miss-them lines to the audience. I read an interview that Roger Ebert, who wrote the movie, did with someone, in which he claimed that he wrote the film as a parody of violent shitty movies, and the interviewer replied "did the director know this?"
Apparently not. And that is good.
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