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Valley of the Dolls (1967) Poster

Trivia

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The character of Neely O'Hara was partially based on Judy Garland's own history (with pills, alcohol, and failed marriages). It was Garland's real-life pill addiction that contributed to her leaving this film.
Judy Garland kept her costume when she was fired from the film, and proceeded to wear the sequined pantsuit while performing in concerts around the world.
Judy Garland was originally cast in the role of Helen Lawson. She was fired because of her drinking and behavior and was replaced by Susan Hayward. Other actors considered as replacements were Tammy Grimes and Bette Davis.
Film debut of Richard Dreyfuss.
This is the first of composer John Williams' 43 Oscar nominations (as of 2005). Williams is currently the most Oscar-nominated living person.
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Judy Garland complained about the press writing about her behavior on this film. She said: "The studio hadn't even built the set yet, and the tabloids had me walking off it".
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The novel begins during a heat wave in New York City at the end of WWII whereas the film opens in the middle of winter with lots of snow. This occurred because the producers were anxious to get the film into production and didn't want to wait for the warmer weather; a fact which infuriated the book's author Jacqueline Susann. The film version was also updated so that instead of taking place from 1945 through the 1950s, the storyline ran from the mid to late 1960s.
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Lucille Ball was originally considered for the role of Helen Lawson, which went to Susan Hayward after Judy Garland left production.
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This film is listed among The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Moves Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.
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Judy Garland was originally screen-tested and signed to play the main supporting role of Helen Lawson. The studio even provided her with a pool table in her dressing room at her request. Eventually she backed out of the film and was ultimately replaced by Susan Hayward. She kept her costume when she walked off the film, and proceeded to wear the sequined pantsuit while performing in concerts around the world. The character of Neely O'Hara in the film was partially based on her own history (with pills, alcohol, and failed marriages). Sadly, it was Garland's real-life pill addiction that contributed to her leaving this film.
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Raquel Welch screen-tested for the role of Jennifer North. When she was then offered it she turned it down and was suspended by 20th Century-Fox as a result. Sharon Tate eventually took the part.
The Helen Lawson character was based loosely on Ethel Merman and the Neely O'Hara character is a mixture of Betty Hutton, Judy Garland, and Frances Farmer. Ethel Merman actually ordered a musical number cut during previews of the show "Panama Hattie" before it opened on Broadway. The singer of that number was Betty Hutton, who was creating quite a sensation with her performance of the song. Just like in "Valley of the Dolls", the producer of the show took Hutton to Hollywood and made her a star to make up for her treatment in the show. (Betty Hutton starred in the film version of Annie Get Your Gun (1950), adapted from the Broadway show starring Ethel Merman.) The character of Jennifer is based largely on Marilyn Monroe but also on Carole Landis, while Jacqueline Susann later admitted that Tony Polar was inspired by Dean Martin.
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The novel and its movie adaptation are loosely based on novelist Jacqueline Susann's experience as an actress from the late 1930s to the late 1950s.
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The book's author, Jacqueline Susann has a cameo as one of the reporters.
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Dionne Warwick was under contract to a different record label than 20th so the theme on the soundtrack album was sung by Dory Previn, who also wrote the lyrics. Margaret Whiting dubbed Susan Hayward but she was also under contract to a different label, so veteran voice double Eileen Wilson sings "I'll Plant My Own Tree" on the soundtrack album.
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Upon its release the picture was roundly scorned and condemned by critics. Moaned Bosley Crowther in the December 16, 1967, issue of The New York Times, "... all a fairly respectful admirer of movies can do is laugh at it and turn away." Nevertheless, audiences filled the theaters, and the film became 20th Century-Fox's top moneymaker of 1968.
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Judy Garland's pre-recording of the song "I'll Plant My Own Tree" still survives today, as do her wardrobe tests.
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Stephen M. Moser of the Austin Chronicle wrote about this film: "The definitive camp classic ... "Valley of the Dolls" is a great movie in the very same way that Showgirls (1995) is a great movie. Rent it and howl!"
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Three of the actresses concerned with this movie would turn down roles in The Graduate (1967) later the same year. Candice Bergen (the first choice for Anne Welles) turned down the role of Elaine Robinson, as did Patty Duke (who played Neely O'Hara), and Susan Hayward (Helen Lawson) was the original choice for Mrs Robinson. However, both films featured small roles by a young Richard Dreyfuss.
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"Come Live With Me", written by André Previn, was inspired by the Christopher Marlowe poem of the same name.
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One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and how they got that way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell.
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Some ads for the film featured photos of the female leads, along with taglines about each individual character and her pill color of preference ("This is so-and-so; she took the red pills.") Unfortunately, the ad department hadn't paid much attention to the movie because same approach was taken with Susan Hayward's character Helen Lawson - the only lead female character who didn't take pills and was in fact quite vocal in her dislike of recreational pill-popping.
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Frequent references to Broadway producer David Merrick and his stage production of Hello Dolly (which characters attend) was no doubt tied to the fact that the Fox studio had purchased rights to make a film version of that musical.
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Dionne Warwick's Scepter rerecording of the movie theme would peak at number two on "Billboard"'s Hot 100 chart in February 1968. Dionne's 45 held the second slot for a month. Without Miss Warwick's presence, the soundtrack album, released by 20th Century Fox Records, entered the "Billboard" pop albums list in January 1968, and the LP then climbed to eighth place.
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The novel the film is based on was the top selling novel of 1966. It has sold over ten million copies.
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There are shots of the exterior of the Playhouse Theatre in New York. This venue was the home of the original Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker", in which Patty Duke, who plays Neely O'Hara, starred in "The Miracle Worker" from 1959-61.
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Jacqueline Susann wanted Elvis Presley for the role of Tony Polar.
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After Judy Garland was fired, Ginger Rogers was offered the role of Helen Lawson. She turned it down, because she hated the script.
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Patty Duke took the role of Neely O'Hara as an opportunity to transition into more adult roles in film, and because she saw the role as the most dynamic in the script, allowing her to act, sing and dance. When she learned that despite her preparations her vocals were dubbed for the film, she was furious.
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For the three lead roles the following actors were considered: Petula Clark, Raquel Welch, Ann-Margret, Candice Bergen, and Jill Ireland. In the end Sharon Tate, Patty Duke and Barbara Parkins played the roles.
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Barbara Parkins originally tested for the role of Neely O'Hara before she was cast as Anne Welles.
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An original, unused theme song was written by novelist Jacqueline Susann and Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons.
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The outdoor scenes of the railroad train from Lawrenceville are actually of the New York Central Harlem Division in Westchester County, New York which is now part of the Metro-North Railroad.
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According to her autobiography, Helen Mirren auditioned for the role of Nelly O'Hara.
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Joan Crawford was considered for the role of Helen Lawson.
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Marlo Thomas was also considered for the role of Anne Welles.
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Ursula Andress turned down the role of Jennifer.
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Julie Christie turned down the role of Anne as well as of Jennifer.
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Jane Fonda turned down the role of Nelly O'Hara.
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Robert Forster screen-tested for the role of Tony Polar.
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Sharon Tate's most famous role.
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Her last album release for United Artists Records, "Patty Duke Sings Songs From Valley of the Dolls and Other Selections" failed to rack up robust sales, and the LP would go out of print after just one year. Gene Kelly, writing the liner notes, extolled, "Of course, Patty is an exciting singer, but precisely because her voice is excited and emotional and full of action."
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In the novel, Anne Welles is described as a blonde with blue eyes. In the film, she is brunette with brown eyes.
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The three-minute movie trailer accompanying the DVD release features an alternate take on one part of the infamous ladies' restroom scene. Susan Hayward's lines (and her delivery) to Patty Duke's Neely O'Hara are a bit different than in the completed film.
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"Dolls" was a slang term at the time for dolophine, a popular downer.
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Re-released in 1969 after the murder of Sharon Tate.
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Original screenwriter Harlan Ellison had his name removed from the credits because he vehemently disagreed with the tacked-on "happy" ending that the studio insisted upon inserting.
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Judy Garland was originally cast as Helen Lawson but was fired when she showed up on set drunk. She was replaced by Susan Hayward at the last minute. Patty Duke later claimed that director Mark Robson deliberately kept Garland waiting in her dressing room all day, knowing that when he finally allowed her on the set, that she would be drunk by then.
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Despite its strong box office performance, the general consensus was that audiences had difficulty accepting the clean-cut Patty Duke in the role of a pill-popping prima donna. The irony was that Duke in real life had become addicted to drugs because her guardians fed them to her to help her with her acting.
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Author Jacqueline Susann hated the film and called it "a piece of shit".
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This proved to be a big break for Sharon Tate even though she wasn't at all keen on the book or the resulting film.
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Mark Robson had a very combative relationship with all his actresses, particularly singling out Sharon Tate for his harsh treatment. Patty Duke hated working with him and, years later, after his death, still called him "a mean son of a bitch".
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Censorship restrictions at the time prevented some of the more colorful instances from the book making it into the film, such as Sharon's experimentation with lesbianism, Ted Casablanca's homosexuality and Tony's predilection for anal sex.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The scene where Tony's legs start to fail & Jennifer(Tate) panicspanics was shot in the music center in downtown Los Angeles.
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In the film, Jennifer - played by Sharon Tate - discovers she has malignant breast cancer. In reality, this mirrors what happened to author Jacqueline Susann who had a mastectomy in 1962. Cancer would ultimately kill Susann in 1974.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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