Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Reviews

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½ December 8, 2016
Russ Myer's magnum opus, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", combines skin with satire to deliver a truly original comedy. It features deliciously over-the-top acting and a great original soundtrack, and most importantly, it is absolutely 100% unpredictable.
December 5, 2016
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE
November 11, 2016
A Roger Ebert satire classic
November 5, 2016
Brilliant, sexy, terrifying!!
Best epilogue written for a movie ever!
June 12, 2016
First heard about this on the Cinema Snob's review to commemorate Roger Ebert. The Cinema Snob made it sound real amazing and like a grindhouse epic. Was able to get it on hold at the library and to me it seemed okay. There's a lot of nudity and this is a NC-17 picture after all. Still felt okay and it was good to know Roger Ebert actually made some movies in his life and didn't just talk about them. Heard also from the Cinema Snob that this was one of the best movies of the 1970's. Maybe also a must see for inspiring film makers I think, haven't seen the Cinema Snob review of this in a long time. If you also want to know more just watch the Cinema Snob Review of this if you want to know more.
½ May 22, 2016
Not bad, but not good, this film seems to not know what kind of film it is. Part rock opera, druggy/hippy flick, sexploitation, parody, satire, that looks like it might end as a horror movie and then ends as a morality tale complete with fairy tale happy ending...A real head-scratcher for sure. Entertaining in its own right, the acting was not bad at all considering the actors were probably confused about what was going on 99% of the time.
October 12, 2015
Before Jacqueline Susann rises from the grave and rips your scalp off in angry comeuppance, I must inform you that 1970's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is not a sequel to the 1967 cult film adaptation of her then-controversial novel "The Valley of the Dolls" but a sleazier parody. Because if I don't, her ghost might want to file another lawsuit for something akin to defamation, and I'm not much in the mood to deal with vengeful pulp writers who don't understand that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with topping bad taste with more bad taste.
I haven't seen the original "The Valley of the Dolls," but it doesn't take a lot of research to come to the conclusion that those who like it only fondle it for its campy terribleness - the more serious minded brush it off as soap opera without the classy underlinings of 1957's "Peyton Place."
Its supposed successor, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," is much more renowned in terms of the schlock cycle. Those who dig the trash manifestations of exploitation, blaxploitation, and nudie-cuties know it as a classic waiting in the wings of rediscovery. It's no surprise that it's directed by Russ Meyer, a garbage king maybe only rivaled by Jack Hill; the bigger, more infamous surprise, though, is that the film is written by Roger Ebert, the film critic who helped define a generation and the film critic who currently serves as one of my two reviewing idols (the other being music's Robert Christgau).
What we have with "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is not a disaster (which most would expect) but rather a delightfully tawdry mess of schlock - when it isn't stooping to stock dialogue and scenes worse than anything you'd find on a particularly bad episode of "The Days of Our Lives," it confides in its old friends nudity and violence. It would cause Joan Crawford to foam at the mouth - so bless its heart for topping "Trog."
The story is mostly nonsensical and giddy, either because of its editing (fond of jump-cuts) or because Meyer and Ebert are less concerned with being coherent and more with figuring out which wacky scenario they can turn to next. It involves three sexy young women, Kelly (Dolly Read), Pet (Marcia McBroom), and Casey (Cynthia Myers), who, when not smoking pot and getting it on, are part of The Kelly Affair, a talented rock group managed by Kelly's boyfriend, Harris (David Gurian). With enough chops and good looks to propel them to potential superstardom, they travel down to Hollywood in hopes to find Kelly's Aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis), a millionairess whose endless show business connections could lead them to the fame and fortune they thirst for.
Things quickly pick up after Kelly comes in contact with erratic music producer Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell (John LaZar) at one of Susan's parties. With a mutual attraction between them, it doesn't take long before he replaces Harris and changes the group's name to The Carrie Nations. Their act spreads like wildfire throughout the United States and they become major performers - but the endless touring and endless bouts of drama can only lead to trouble.
I forgot to mention that side-plots involve a porn star's (Edy Williams) ambitious decision that she must seduce Harris, Pet's troubled affair with a foul-tempered fighter (James Iglehart) who irrationally runs her boyfriend over with his fancy pants convertible, Casey's one-night-stand that ends with an abortion and a lesbian sex scene, and Z-Man's desperate attempts to hook up with an expensive gigolo (Michael Blodgett).
I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but I want to establish that "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is wilder than most mainstream films that were released circa 1970; for being the product of a major Hollywood studio, it leaves class in shambles and ass on a pedestal. But it's all in fun, bad taste - and I had a blast watching it. Maybe it's Ebert's knack for writing dialogue that appears to be stocky and satirical all at once. Maybe it's the way Meyer directs the film, hoping to push the buttons of Jacqueline Susann and the public and succeeding rather tremendously. Or maybe it's the performances, which range from Bette Davis in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" camp (Z-Man, Ashley St. Ives) or paralyzingly stifled attempts at likability (every one of its leading characters). I can't say, but I'd take something as mind-boggling as "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" over "Switchblade Sisters" any day.
The film was rated X upon release and was reconfigured as an NC-17 product back in 1990. How curious. There is no genitalia, no boundary-pushing violence, or harshly graphic dialogue in sight - it's a game of generational match-up severely head-scratching, even frustrating, as it more than likely deters audiences wondering what a Roger Ebert written film would be like. Don't step back in fear: bask in the thunderous trash that is "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls."
September 24, 2015
i think the weirdest sequel ever not 2 mention Roger Ebert co-wrote the script
September 23, 2015
Hilarious, hyperactive and sexy, this exploitation parody film has style with writing credit from the late legendary film critic Roger Ebert.
½ May 30, 2015
A classic Russ Meyer film about ambition, power, sex and really big boobs. Roger Ebert's one dip in filmmaking is shamelessly funny. One will find more oddly clever lines hidden between Meyer's hyper-attive pace. Actually goes beyond camp to an almost new genre of film entertainment. A must see! I'm still puzzled how this movie still earns the equivalent of an X rating. It's all so silly, it is difficult to find it at all offensive and impossible to deny the entertainment it offers.
½ January 30, 2015
Famously scripted by critic Roger Ebert, this was exploitation director Russ Meyer's big shot at success, backed by a major studio. However, today it comes across as terribly dated, half-baked, and, alas, pretty boring. The stars weren't exactly chosen for their acting prowess (given Meyer's well-known predilections) and the camera tends to leer until the editor quickly cuts to something tamer (but too many quick cuts annoy this viewer). The plot revolves around a girl rock band that travels to California and possibly gets an inheritance but certainly gets mixed up with some odd characters (one of whom spouts Shakespeare-sounding lines - Ebert's contribution?), do a lot of drugs, and pretend they are the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Originally rated X for violence (not sex, apparently, although don't quote me on that). Give it a miss.
½ January 17, 2015
While it's clever in some aspects, this is mainly complete nonsense. The actors are terrible but I guess that was a focal point of this movie.
December 20, 2014
This was Russ Meyer's only big budget movie. Roger Ebert wrote the script. He's a better movie critic. It's just a long soap opera with flashes of nudity. Although it's about an all girl rock band, the music is terrible. Russ Meyer is an old World War II vet trying to be hip in the late 1960's and just doesn't quite get it. One of the themes of this movie is the generation gap from that era. He had a good eye for girls with big boobs but had no ear for rock music. Just a few years before this movie was made, the Monkees TV show was about a fake band but managed to have real hits. This movie had a no-hit rock band doing the music. The NC-17 rating is because of the weird climax to the movie with a trans-gendered dude cutting heads off and stabbing and shooting people for no reason. The story starts out with an all girl band playing at a high school prom. They decide to go to California to claim an inheritance for the lead singer. They must have been in Oklahoma because they have a map sequence of them traveling that starts in the Texas Panhandle on I-40. They get to L.A. and become instant stars. Nothing in the story makes any sense. The acting is bad. The dialogue is flat or makes no sense. The only thing the movie has going for it is the good looking women. I've got the Laserdisc version of this movie. If you want to see a good Russ Meyer film, watch Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill. It's low budget but fun.
November 26, 2014
Considered a classic (& the only screenplay by Ebert!). Definitively ahead of it's time, the ideas just weren't properly utilized by the director or this might have been considered ground breaking art.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2014
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.
August 6, 2014
This was a really bizarre movie from exploitation legend Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert.
Has a little bit of everything you could want.
April 16, 2014
Its so terrible, in the best ways possible. Russ Meyer and a young Roger Ebert captured the chaotic spirit of the 60's in such a brilliantly cheesy way. I can't help but marvel at it.
March 11, 2014
after watching this movie only one thing popped up in my head.....Roger Ebert was the most brilliant screenwriter of all time
½ March 5, 2014
Not even close to as Good as Valley of the Dolls
November 8, 2013
Here's an ironic review: I hated this move. I hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Girls were cute though - with that 60's go-go dance thing going. Hence two stars. Here's another tip. Watch it with the volume turned down while listening to NPR. Let's see if you get the first reference.
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