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This film is a sequel in name only to Valley of the Dolls (1967). An all-girl rock band goes to Hollywood to make it big. There they find success, but luckily for us, they sink into a cesspool of decadence. This film has a sleeping woman performing on a gun which is in her mouth. It has women posing as men. It has lesbian sex scenes. It is also written by Roger Ebert, who had become friends with Russ Meyer after writing favorable reviews of several of his films. Written by
Mark Logan <email@example.com>
Disclaimer: THE FILM YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS NOT A SEQUEL TO "VALLEY OF THE DOLLS." IT IS WHOLLY ORIGINAL AND BEARS NO RELATIONSHIP TO REAL PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD. IT DOES, LIKE "VALLEY OF THE DOLLS" DEAL WITH THE OFT-TIMES NIGHTMARE WORLD OF SHOW BUSINESS BUT IN A DIFFERENT TIME AND CONTEXT. See more »
I don't know why I feel so compelled to write about this movie. I had seen "BVD" a couple of years back and recently rented it again. In one weekend, I watched it three times. I love the color, the music, the whiz-bang editing, the campy dramatics...it would be a true classic if not for one thing: the distasteful, disastrous ending. "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is soft-core auteur Russ Meyer's drug-drenched, sex-soaked parody of "Valley of the Dolls," the film based on Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel of the same name. Whereas "Valley of the Dolls" is unintentional camp, "BVD" is intentional camp. It lampoons the southern Californian "scene" in the late '60's by relating the adventures of the three members of a girl band who find fame and fortune in Hollywood. "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" is the main theme here; the secondary theme is "voluptuous, scantily-clad starlets displaying miles of cleavage." (This is, after all, a Russ Meyer film!) Those discriminating viewers seeking insightful social commentary, three-dimensional characters, and plot twists that actually make sense had better look elsewhere. The plot concerns the previously mentioned trio of female rockers and their escapades in La-La Land. Pet, Kelly, Casey, and Harris, the band's manager (and Kelly's boyfriend) make it to Los Angeles after a two-minute montage of them groovily singing their way across the country. Kelly is reunited with her long-lost aunt who takes the girls to a wild, swingin' party at the home of Ronnie Barzell, a rock promoter; Barzell enthusiastically signs the band to a contract after they do an impromptu performance for his guests. All of this miraculously occurs within six hours of their arrival in L.A. (Screw schlepping around town submitting demo tapes; this is the way to become a rock star.) Having achieved overnight fame, our busty, lusty heroines then confront the Dark Side Of Success, finding themselves quickly entangled in various soap opera-ish sub-plots.
The Suff I Liked: The acting: good, not great, but great acting would only detract from a movie like this. As the three female leads, Dolly Read (Kelly), Cynthia Myers (Casey), and Marcia McBroom (Pet), are, if nothing else, energetic and certainly gorgeous to look at. No, they're not accomplished thespians, but then Russ Meyer chose his actresses more for their cup sizes than their emoting skills. The performances I particularly like are those of John LaZar as flamboyant Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell, Phyllis Davis as Kelly's kindly Aunt Susan, and Edy Williams as, hilariously, oversexed porn star Ashley St. Ives. The music: some great, late-'60's style rock songs. Does anybody out there know if there is a soundtrack available? Meyer's visual flair: This is one of the most colorful, most visually frenetic films that I have ever seen. Meyer will perhaps be remembered more for his abilities as cinematographer and editor than as director. Almost every frame is jammed with vibrant, sharp color and the whole show zooms along at such a feverish pace that you're left breathless.
The Stuff I Didn't Like: As I said before, my problem with this movie is the ending. I won't give it away, except to say that it is repellent, gratuitously violent, and so dark and brutal as to be completely out of sync with the gaudy, campy scenes that precede it.
My suggestion - skip the last 15 minutes or so, and just enjoy the long, riotous bacchanal that comes before.
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