Frequently Asked Questions
"Why did you write a dirty, violent movie?" I finally asked [Roger Ebert].
"It was written as a parody of dirty, violent movies," he said.
"Did the producer and director know that?"
Although I am not a movie critic, I think I have figured out what went wrong, how so talented a writer and so decent a young man could be involved in that dog.
Ebert's problem is that he is not a dirty old man. If a dirty movie is going to be any good, it has to be written by a dirty old man. You wouldn't let an ROTC student write a war movie, or a Republican write a book about Chicago politics. From: his July 10 1970 newspaper column, collected in: Mike Royko, "Like I Was Sayin'," NY, 1984
The short answer is, nothing.
Originally conceived as a sequel with the involvement of Jacqueline Susann, the project eventually became 20th Century Fox's attempt to tap into the growing market for "counterculture" films such as "Easy Rider". Susann left the project after her attempts at a script were rejected, and Fox hired Russ Meyer to write and direct, with Roger Ebert sharing screenplay duties. The characters of "Aunt Susan" and her beau were originally conceived as Anne Welles and Lyon Burke, which would have carried over two characters from the original, but after Susann objected to the film being presented as a sequel to her original work, the connection was dropped entirely, with the film even marketed with the tagline "This is not a sequel, there has never been anything like it."
In fact, the disclaimer that appears on screen just before the opening credits reads as so, as a legality to the situation listed above:
"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."
At the end of the film, many viewers are rightfully confused by the fact that Z-Man Barzell opens his shirt to reveal a pair of female breasts. According to Roger Ebert's audio commentary on the DVD, this idea was his own, and Russ Meyer was amused by it and allowed the bizarre element to remain in the script. Ebert said he started laughing when he wrote the scene, and when Meyer asked why, he replied that "Z-Man is actually a woman."
However, this would seem to be at odds with the fact that Z-Man clearly has sideburns and facial hair early on in the picture. You also can't see the breasts through any of his clothing earlier in the movie, as they were not there. In the spirit of the rest of the film, which features a number of strange things going on, the fact that Z-Man has breasts can probably best be attributed to a whim that was included at the last moment; it has no real explanation or connection to the rest of the film. It's simply a gag that was inserted into a satirical film as an afterthought.