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The ultimate, crazed stereotype of 1960's /70's pop culture.
on 14 August 2000
If you have never seen a Russ Meyer movie then 'Beyond the valley of the dolls' will probably be one of the most baffling pieces of modern cinema ever witnessed. Everything about this film is flawed, from the screenplay to the direction, and yet it has resulted in one of the most entertaining slices of cult cinema anywhere.
The story revolves around a girl band who travel to the West coast of America to seek fame and to meet up with a rich aunt. There follows over an hour of parties, drug and alcohol abuse, orgies, and legendary narcissism. They find a new manager, Ronnie 'Zeeman' Barzell, who takes them to the top then gradually leads them astray.
Something has to give, and the result is a cataclysmic night of insanity and murder. One of the characters even appears to turn into a woman before our eyes, believing himself to be Superwoman! He then seizes a sword and, with a cry of "the vile blade goes snicker-snack" lobs off a friends' head.
The reason this film works is because everything is taken to the extreme. The dialogue would be a nonsense if it wasn't so elaborately contrived. The camera never seems to establish a shot, and instead creates random montage.
This is all done deliberately to convey a cock-eyed view of the world, and it does this perfectly. The fantastic colour, the wild parties, all this goes to show up the alternate reality where these drug fuelled individuals reside. Undoubtedly some people will dismiss this as a mess, but others will consider it an important work purely for its originality. There really is nothing else like it.