June 30, 2006

Valley of the Dolls

Reviewer: Erin Donovan
Rating (out of 5): *** (on a camp scale: *****)

Arriving during Pride Week - as the cure for heterosexuality! - the camp classic Valley of the Dolls is ostensibly the story of three young women who leave their small town lives to come to New York City in the late 60s, seeking fame and fortune (and hair). Dolls breezes through topics like abortion, mental illness, drug addiction, the cruelty of fame, and pornography while bathing in every intoxicating moment of Travilla gowns, garish wigs, 60s modernist set pieces and the kind of acting that can only be expected when you combine an abusive director, supreme egos and dialogue like "They drummed you out of Hollywood, so you come crawling back to Broadway. But Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope. Now get out of my way, I've got a man waiting for me."

The bonus disc of this fun new edition contains extensive footage of the premiere at the Venice Film Festival (aboard a 60 foot yacht) that ended with author Jackie Susann leaping off the boat, screaming "they've ruined my book!" One woman's trash is another generation's treasure. The extensive featurettes, trivia games, karaoke videos, and commentaries illustrate the film's truly lasting cultural impact.

One particular gem is the commentary track wherein lead actress Barbara Parkins repeatedly asserts how much better the film would have been had Martin Scorsese directed (there's one for the fanfic writers) and gossip columnist Ted Casablanca shares observations like "you do 'WASP suffering in mink' better than Bette Davis, Barbara". Oh and, did I mention it's a musical? - Erin Donovan



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Posted by cphillips at June 30, 2006 11:35 PM | TrackBack
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