Valley of the Dolls

"Good"

Valley of the Dolls Review


Of all the camp classics available for your derision and laughter, Valley of the Dolls is surely one of the campiest, the kind of movie whose promotional stills are reproduced on T-shirts for sale in your finer gay gift shops, the kind of movie that has close to 30 memorable quotes listed online, the kind of movie so delightfully absurd that even Roger Ebert (of all people) was moved to pen an even more campy farce of a sequel.

A lurid '60s sensation about three young women who come New York to make it on big, bad Broadway, Jacqueline Susann's steamy bestseller was rushed to Hollywood and put on the screen fast. The result is one of those unwatchable/irresistible messes that's even more fun once you memorize the dialog and sing along with the musical numbers.

Virginal Anne Wells (Barbara Parkins) lands work as a secretary where she runs into volatile and supertalented Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke, putting a flamethrower to her child star image), who has been bounced from a Broadway cast for outshining the star, arch-bitch Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward, replacing Judy Garland, who got fired). As stevedore-tough Helen puts it, "The only hit that comes out of a Helen Lawson show is Helen Lawson, and that's me, baby, remember?" Right. Rounding out the trio is Jennifer North (the lovely but doomed Sharon Tate), who is so beautiful and naïve that you know she's just going to get chewed up.

In short order, Anne becomes a cosmetics spokesmodel, Jennifer marries slick lounge singer Tony Polar (Tony Scotti), and Neely becomes a hit and heads for Hollywood. For all three, though, success has a terrible price, and Neely pays the most, tumbling into a nightmarish battle with drugs (she calls the pills "dolls") and alcohol and running through husbands, one of whom turns out to be gay. His name: Ted Casablanca, which is where the E! channel gossip columnist got his nom de plume.

Neely's drunken tirades are indescribably hilarious, and you'll long remember Patty Duke swinging for the fences when on one bender she shrieks, "Boobies! Boobies! Boobies! Nothin' but boobies! Who needs 'em?" After a stint at the funny farm she recovers enough to return to Broadway, steals Anne's husband, and has a ladies room catfight with Helen Lawson during which she pulls off Helen's wig. "Give me back my hair!" the aggrieved Helen howls.

Jennifer has her own tragedies. Her path leads to skanky French porn flicks and a diagnosis of breast cancer. Her husband Tony develops a disease that renders him paralyzed. She has no choice but to consider suicide. Bummer. And Anne lives to tell the tale, a prim narrator who looks back on all that has transpired and expresses, you know, regret.

Well I'm exhausted, and you will be too after you belly laugh your way through Valley of the Dolls. If you like the unintentional hilarity of films like Mommie Dearest then you'll like this film as well. Gather some friends, and have a few drinks. But whatever you do, stay away from the dolls.

As if to prove that you can easily talk about this movie forever, the two-disc collector's DVD includes two documentaries, "Pill Pop-Up Karaoke," a "Translate French Porn Movies" game, lots of screen tests including Judy Garland's, and, as they say, much much more.

Dollface.



Valley of the Dolls

Facts and Figures

Run time: 123 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th February 1968

Box Office Worldwide: $50M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Barbara Parkins as Anne Welles, as Neely O'Hara, as Jennifer North, Paul Burke as Lyon Burke, Tony Scotti as Tony Polar, as Miriam Polar, as Helen Lawson, as Mel Anderson, as Kevin Gillmore, Alexander Davion as Ted Casablanca (as Alex Davion), Naomi Stevens as Miss Steinberg, Robert H. Harris as Henry Bellamy, Jacqueline Susann as First Reporter, Robert Viharo as Director, as MC at Telethon, as MC Grammy Awards, as Assistant Stage Manager (uncredited), as Pianist (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.