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Updated version of the Jacqueline Susann best selling 1960's novel shows the lives of three very different women who come to New York City to achieve fame and fortune in show business and ... See full summary »
Anne Welles, a bright, brash young New England college grad leaves her Peyton Place-ish small town and heads for Broadway, where she hopes to find an exciting job and sophisticated men. During her misadventures in Manhattan and, later, Hollywood, she shares experiences with two other young hopefuls: Jennifer North, a statuesque, Monroe-ish actress who wants to be accepted as a human being, but is regarded as a sex object by all the men she meets, and Neely O'Hara, a talented young actress who's accused of using devious means by a great older star (Helen Lawson) to reach the top, pulling an "All About Eve"-type deception in order to steal a good role away from her. Written by
In the Valley of the Dolls, it's instant turn-on... dolls to put you to sleep at night, kick you awake in the morning, make life seem great - instant love, instant excitement, ultimate hell! See more »
"My beautiful little dolls. Just one...and one more."
The film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls is stupid, empty, overly melodramatic...and a lot of fun!
Jacqueline Susann's 1966 novel is my all-time favorite, and her gritty, glossy pulp material was severely diluted for the big screen. That is the main problem. Too many punches are pulled, the characters are sweetened up, and a completely ridiculous happy ending (which Jackie hated) is substituted for the book's bleak, satisfying conclusion. Mark Robson's film has none of the spirit of its basis.
With that out of the way, the movie is very enjoyable for what it is: An unintentional laugh riot. The dialogue is hilarious and eminently quotable--"Boobies, boobies, boobies! Nothin' but boobies! Who needs 'em? I never had any! Didn't hurt me none!" Most of the supposedly "dramatic" and "touching" scenes are a scream. Patty Duke is priceless as the speech-slurring, tantrum-throwing, self-destructive Neely O'Hara. Watch her flailing around during the "It's Impossible" number; notice the embarrassing position of her beads. Barbara Parkins seems to have taken one Seconal too many before shooting, as she appears to be completely anesthetized. Susan Hayward gets to bellow a lot, fight with Duke, and get her wig thrown into a toilet in the most famous scene. The only one who comes off really well is Sharon Tate, a talent who never got the attention she deserved in life. Hers are the only genuinely affecting moments in the film, especially her final scene.
The candy-colored photography is good, beautifully capturing the glossy red capsules taken at every turn. The hair and fashions are glamorous--and so is the hairspray can! Dionne Warwick sings the beautiful theme, and the rest of the songs are enjoyably silly. I have the soundtrack LP--TWO copies! In conclusion, the ultimate camp classic! I'm off to take another doll now....
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