When a best-selling novel contains sex, drugs and Hollywood then apparently it is destined to become a highly anticipated movie. In 1967 Montreal-born director Mark Robson (Champion, Earthquake) made a big screen version of Jacqueline Susann’s (Once Is Not Enough) novel, “Valley of the Dolls”, into a controversial film. It went on to become a camp classic that claimed to shed some light on Hollywood’s deepest darkest secrets.
The critics at the time were horrified and audiences came to see the film in droves. What interested people is the steamy look at the fighting and back stabbing that goes on in Hollywood. The film seemed to give us ‘normal’ people a window into what happens behind the scenes. It is also an interesting, if not too realistic, depiction of the 1960s.
The costumes, musical numbers and hairstyles are all over-the-top, but strangely you won’t be able to find the strength to avert your eyes from the film. The script is ridiculous and the acting is weak…all the elements are here to make a cult classic. It’s the type of movie that if consumed will rot your teeth, but you cannot help yourself and keep eating. Damn the consequences!
Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins – appeared in television series Love Boat and Hotel), an Ivy-League school graduate, decides to move from her sleepy small town to New York City. She gets a job working in the office of entertainment lawyers, Henry Bellamy (Robert H. Harris – The Alamo, Peyton Place) and Lyon Burke (Paul Burke – The Thomas Crown Affair). Her job is exciting and she meets all sorts of interesting people from the entertainment industry. Anne becomes friends with Jennifer North (Sharon Tate – appeared in television series The Beverly Hillbillies), a bombshell who wants to be taken seriously, and Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke – The Miracle Worker, Prelude to A Kiss), a talented actress.
After doing all they can in Manhattan, the three independent career-oriented women move to Hollywood. Hollywood becomes a place where the three women think only about their figures, alcohol and their ‘dolls’ or the barbiturates they take in increasing numbers. They become involved with fast men and partying.
Just as their careers seem to be heading on the right path they also become self-destructive. Jennifer marries crooner Tony Polar (Tony Scotti – only film) who soon becomes afflicted with a disease that leaves him in a sanitarium. Jennifer is conflicted between the how exploited she feels using her sex appeal and the large amounts of money she is making. She soon becomes a star of the adult film industry to pay Tony’s medical bills. Anne moves quickly from her job as a secretary to a television model. Neely finds out that there is such a thing as being too ambitious. She goes through two husbands and has to go into rehab for her addiction to the dolls. None of them are really prepared for this type of lifestyle and not all of them will come out unscathed.
-Trailers and TV Spots
-Hollywood Backstories: Valley of the Dolls
-Audio Commentary Featuring Actors Barbara Parkins and Journalist Ted Casablanca
-30 Page Illustrated Booklet