Valley of the Dolls and its non-sequel, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, serve as proof that good cheese ages well. One delivered its drama straight-faced and big-haired; the other was a jiggly in-joke blown up to gargantuan proportions. For their deluxe DVD editions, Fox Home Video has done an excellent job of packaging a pair of films that have had little more than a mid-level (but very enthusiastic) cult audience. Both remain unintentionally hilarious camp classics, for sure, but these DVDs also manage to place them within the context of the very different times they were made.
Take 1967's Valley of the Dolls, for instance. Jacqueline Susann's blockbuster dirty book lent itself well towards a deluxe screen adaption, a hoary old "three girls meet different fates" concept brought into the age of pills, booze and permissive sexual mores. What went wrong, then? Perhaps somebody should have told the screenwriters that passages which look good on paper don't necessarily translate well to the screen. Mark Robson's technically proficient but cold direction compounds the problem, resulting in a film that lacks emotional resonance. Issues of drug abuse, mental illness and abortion are dealt with on the same superficial terms as the chi chi fashions, sets and shellacked hairstyles. The resulting mishmash might appear dreadful, but really it's fascinatingly watchable. It might be Valley's biggest legacy that it stands as one of the few films that shows taboo situations while simultaneously being embalmed in a studio-shined veneer of its own outlandish datedness.Continue Reading >>>
|:: posted by Donald Melanson, 6/25/2006|| Comments (0)|
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