Valley of the Dolls (1967) - Rotten Tomatoes

Valley of the Dolls (1967)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A cinematic take on a 1960s best-seller, Valley of the Dolls traces the ups and downs of three young women as fame, booze, pills, and men consume their lives. Well-bred, small-town Anne Welles (Peyton Place star Barbara Parkins) arrives in New York eager for fame but settles for a job assisting theatrical attorney Henry Bellamy (Robert H. Harris). The job leads her to cross paths with Helen Lawson (Hollywood veteran Susan Hayward), the grand dame of Broadway musicals, and Neely O'Hara (sitcom star Patty Duke), an up-and-coming performer whom Lawson unceremoniously boots from her latest show. Neely lands on her feet thanks to a series of nightclub gigs, and soon she and Anne befriend Jennifer North (Sharon Tate), a buxom starlet. As Neely becomes a huge star of stage and screen and Jennifer appears topless in a string of European "art" films, Anne becomes a wealthy cosmetics spokeswoman and suffers though a passionate but failed affair with aspiring writer Lyon Burke (Paul Burke). As the pressures of fame and failed romance take their toll on all three women, they take refuge in food, sex, liquor, and pills -- especially Neely, who becomes downright monstrous (the titular "dolls" are the uppers and downers to which she becomes hopelessly addicted). Although the film's characters are fictitious composites, Neely most closely resembles Judy Garland; Garland herself was originally cast as Lawson, but she was replaced after only a few days by Hayward. Although the film's trailer played up the story's titillating subject matter, the script for Valley of the Dolls actually toned down Jacqueline Susann's novel. And despite the fact that Dionne Warwick can be heard singing "(Theme From) The Valley of the Dolls" twice during the film, contractual snags kept her from releasing the soundtrack version; a different arrangement later became a number two pop hit in 1968. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

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Cast

Barbara Parkins
as Anne Welles
Patty Duke
as Neely O'Hara
Sharon Tate
as Jennifer North
Paul Burke
as Lyon Burke
Tony Scotti
as Tony Polar
Susan Hayward
as Helen Lawson
Alexander Davion
as Ted Casablanca
Lee Grant
as Miriam
Martin Milner
as Mel Anderson
Charles Drake
as Kevin Gilmore
Naomi Stevens
as Miss Steinberg
Robert H. Harris
as Henry Bellamy
Robert Viharo
as Director
Mikel Angel
as Man in Hotel Room
Barry Cahill
as Man in Bar
Richard Angarola
as Claude Chardot
Joey Bishop
as MC at Telethon
George Jessel
as MC at Grammy Awards
Judith Lowry
as Aunt Amy
Jeanne Gerson
as Neely's Maid
Linda Peck
as Telephone Girl
Pat Becker
as Telephone Girl
Corinna Tsopei
as Telephone Girl
Robert Street
as Choreographer
Robert Gibbons
as Desk Clerk at Lawrenceville Hotel
Leona Powers
as Woman at Martha Washington Hotel
Barry O'Hara
as Assistant Stage Manager
Peggy Rea
as Neely's Voice Coach
Norman Burton
as Neely's Hollywood Director
Margot Stevenson
as Anne's Mother
Jonathan Hawke
as Sanitarium Doctor
Dorothy Neumann
as Neely's Maid
Richard Hoyt
as Reporter
Charlotte Knight
as Neely's Maid
Robert L. McCord III
as Bartender at New York Theater
Gertrude Flynn
as Ladies' Room Attendant
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Critic Reviews for Valley of the Dolls

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (4)

Too dull even to function as camp.

Full Review… | October 17, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Jacqueline Susann's 'exposé' of Hollywood gets the cliché-ridden treatment it deserves from Robson.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's an unbelievably hackneyed and mawkish mish-mash of backstage plots and Peyton Place adumbrations.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It tries to raise itself to the level of sophisticated pornography, but fails. And it is dirty, not because it has lots of sex in it, but because it firmly believes that sex is dirty.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It thinks it it is incredibly sophisticated and clever, when it is just the dumbest damn thing.

Full Review… | December 4, 2016
Antagony & Ecstasy

The newfound envelope-pushing in cinema, tested so brilliantly in 1967 by Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, is botched here.

Full Review… | October 8, 2016
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Valley of the Dolls

½

Although obviously not also from a thematic point of view, the film's execution feels tremendously dated today - as I imagine it was just as well back in the 1960s -, like a mawkish vintage soap-opera that is not ashamed of its laughable dialogue and absurd situations.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A fairly good take at the life of the 60s but I didn't care for it very much.

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Valley of the Dolls follows the lives of three young women as they struggle to succeed in the cutthroat world of show business. Along the way they contend with drug abuse, alcoholism, adultery, abortion, Huntington's disease, suicide and Susan Hayward. In 1967 it's racy, risqué and controversial. In 2011 it seems exaggerated, sensationalized and preachy.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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