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What a Deal!
on October 26, 2012
The Valley of the Dolls along with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls? And its historical bitchfest predecessor, All About Eve? I had to get this and boy am I glad I did. I hadn't seen either of those two films in decades and I laughed my ass off at both. Both are also visually fantastic- especially the Mod Fashion sequences of "The Valley of The Dolls". Perfect timepiece. And there are so many quotable lines in both -- "They say I'm self-destructive --- SO WHAT?" and the classic "It's my scene and it freaks me out!" (from "Beyond".)
Roger Ebert's commentary on "Beyond" explains a lot about this bizarre movie- hard to believe that he wrote such a weird film as he seems rather staid. He talks about how he and Russ Meyer wrote it on the fly, satirizing the first film's over-the-top melodrama. It makes sense too, since this non-sequel's twists and turns are almost random and pointless. It also explains the peculiar script style; how all the characters openly declare their motivations and act in a somewhat old-fashioned acting style for the 60s.
And the all-female band is actually, in its hokey Hollywood way, pretty great. There are a few really catchy songs and you can tell they had some kind of Grace Slick-type of vocalist as a model for their sound. And of course, the musical numbers are played against the most awesome montages ever. When Ebert explains Meyer's montage style, you really notice how perfect the overly-stylized tactic works. Probably not workable in any other kind of genre, also, so this film's a rare treat.
I have no idea what the Ingrid Bergman movie is doing in this set; other than maybe this was intended to be marketed as a collection of 'women's films' or proto-chick-flicks. Or perhaps they felt the need to balance out all the decadent bitchery with some wholesomeness.
And of course the original "Valley" is a top-notch Mod Showbiz Melodrama. Patty Duke really gets all the best lines in it and gets to really let it hit the fan. And the Rehab musical sequence is truly unbelievable. You will die laughing; they don't make movies like this anymore- in fact, this might be the only one of its kind they ever made! Ridiculous, yet so tightly directed and edited- the opening 'leaving home' sequence sets the tone for the stylized production of the rest of the film. You are watching True ShowBiz, honey. Now it's common for Hollywood to cover its own darkside, but this was supposedly ground-breaking and it really pulls out all the stops. Sure, stars go to rehab all the time now, but do they sing in their wheelchairs --waking from dementia? I think not.
Anyway, this set was a real find!