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3.8 out of 5 stars37
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2006
Over the years Mark Robson's movie adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's book Valley of the Doll's has absolutely polarized viewers, there are those who either love it or hate it, indeed someone even remarked to me - "it was a bad film then and it's a bad film now." Either way, viewers are going to get lots of laughs out of this high class, quasi-exploitative romp through the world of show business and the so-called cold-blooded machinations of the people who make it all happen.

The film is certainly lurid and shapeless and hackneyed, and a real hodgepodge of subplots that never real gel into an organized whole. But the movie is also audacious and camp, today it's most notable for being unintentionally funny without trying to be - and now finally out on DVD - it serves as a great window into late 60's fashions and hairdos and home furnishings.

The story tells of three women and their respective careers in show business, tracing their assorted egotistical aspirations, love affairs, and of course, their addiction to pills. The lovely small-town girl Anne Wells (Barbara Parkins) travels to the big city and finds work as a secretary. Here she meets the impulsive, hot-blooded young star Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke).

Neely is threatening to upstage current Broadway diva, the super b*tch Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward) and Helen will stop at nothing to secure her prominence at the top. Running parallel to this is the story of the beautiful Jennifer North (Sharon Tate) who ends up marrying saloon singer Tony Polar (Tony Scotti). Of course, fame and money eventually come to all three, but at a terrible price.

Perhaps it is fragile Neely who pays for it the most. She does indeed achieve her ambition of becoming a world famous singer, but she can't handle the pressure, and plummets into a terrifying battle with drugs - she calls the pills "dolls." Hard up for cash, Jennifer becomes a no-talent showgirl, traveling to Paris to appear in tacky French porn films, and Anne achieves stardom as a cosmetic model while spending most of her time playing second fiddle to her beau Lyon (Paul Burke).

The movie stumbles along - some scenes are better than others, with the story mostly coming to life when Neely goes off the rails and ends up in San Francisco in an alcohol soaked rage, totally off the rails. Patty Duke plays the over-the-top role to the hilt - there's not one ounce of subtly here - even though both her singing and her dancing are dubbed in.

Susan Hayward - clearly paying the rent - stands out amongst all the backstabbing and frippery and her aging musical comedy celebrity is the one remotely believable character in the whole film. And the poor doomed Sharon Tate is suitably gorgeous, but it's just too bad she was such a terrible actress.

Undoubtedly the single best scene - and the most memorable - comes in the last act when Hayward and Duke square off for a hair-pulling catfight in the ladies' bathroom - it has to be seen to be believed and cements this film as one of the all time great campy epics. Mike Leonard June 06.
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on 18 July 2012
I was so so looking forward to the movie, the book is fabulous. But i'm so disappointed. Sharon Tate as Jennifer is beautiful, and Neely and Anne are good, but unless you've read the book you have no clue what's going on, and if you have read the book then you get very frustrated as none of the characters develop properly, things are mixed about, and the girls relationship is nothing like it should be. All i'll say is no wonder Jacqueline Susann walked out of the premier.
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on 20 March 2013
Though not considered to be a great film, Andre and Dory Previn's score for VOD's is a colourful combination of stage musical numbers and the kind of muzak that soundtrack collectors go wild for. Very 60s, very camp and rather wonderful.
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on 25 April 2009
how could you not like this film?there were many reasons why i wanted to watch this film,firstly because of the late Sharon tate, secondly because it's a cult classic and because it looked like a great movie to watch.
despite what many say i thought the acting was brilliant patty duke shines as the loud but beautiful neily o'hara,Barbara Parkins stars as the innocent Anne wells and of course the tragic star Sharon tate stars as the beautiful and kind hearted Jenifer north, with a great cast and a great story this film is worth watching
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on 27 December 2003
What more could one ask for? Valley of the Dolls took itself seriously with hilarious effects. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (supposedly not related) was more of a spoof that played straight with seriously hilarious effects. Both are camp classics and at this price, this DVD is nearly impossible to pass up.
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on 11 September 2013
Two good films, similar in a dissimilar sort of way. Beyond the valley of the Dolls is NOT a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. It even says so at the beginning of BTVOTD so there should be no confusion there, but both are about the ups and downs of the lives of a group of 3 women. I must I bought the films as the first featured the tragic and beautiful Sharon Tate and the second featured one of the top Playboy playmates Cynthia Myers........I know I'm shallow, what can I tell you!.
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on 21 September 2015
OK, this has a good transfer and audio with subtitles and good price. Only problem is the 2.35:1 AR that is letterboxed in 4:3. Passable in 2004 but with anamorphic releases in 2006/2007 this 2004 release no longer cuts the mustard.
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on 26 October 2015
OK, so the film is often considered a camp, cult classic. The film tries (largely unsuccessfully) to pack into two hours all the source material that is more fitting of a miniseries (as was, in fact, produced in the 1980s). As a result, unless you have read the book, then there are large swathes of the film that just do not seem to make any sense. That said, the film is one of my favourites for all the "wrong" reasons: completely OTT acting, unfathomable and incongruous "interludes" (e.g. the Gillian girl), and numbers such as "I'll Plant My Own Tree" which only those without even the most basic sense of humour could fail to laugh at.

The problem is with the DVD itself: not only is the print very badly flawed in places with specks and lines, but the volume also leaves a lot to be desired. However, the most galling thing is the format in which the DVD is presented: the picture fills only about a third of the TOTAL screen! Try to alter the settings, and all sense of physical proportion disappears. Thank goodness Amazon are so generous in their returns policy as this one went straight back, despite my wanting it in my collection.

I would personally give the film 5 stars (as I mentioned, for all the 'wrong' reasons), but this DVD presentation gets 1 star. Too bad Arrow Films are releasing only Beyond The Valley of the Dolls very soon - maybe they'll get around to releasing this camp classic in a state to do it its gloriously OTT justice.
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on 11 August 2015
Saw this after loving the book years ago. It is very different but there is so much plot in the book it would need to be ten hours long to cover it all. It would also have failed to get a BBFC rating.

A camp classic with great one liners and the songs are excellent, especially the theme sung by Dion Warwick.
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on 28 January 2010
I bought this for my Mum, she has always loved this film. I am sure she will enjoy watching it over and over.
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