This is my first film by this director. I'm hesitant to guess what ignited my interest in the films of renowned sleaze master and independent film guru Russ Meyer. The film opens with a title card explaining that it is not, in any way, related to the work of Jacqueline Susann, the literary trashmeistress who wrote the novel upon which the 1967 Mark Robson film "Valley of the Dolls" was based.
Meet 'The Kelly Affair' - three rock rockin' song birds led by Kelly on vocals, (Dolly Reed) with Casey on rhythm guitar, (Cynthia Myers) and Pet (Marcia McBroom) on drums. Reduced to playing Senior Proms, the three girls and their Manager/Kelly's lover, Harris, (David Gurlan) decide to leave for Hollywood in search of fame. Once in town, Kelly contacts her estranged Aunt Suzan (Phyllis Davis) who works as fashion magazine editor for a place to crash with she and her band-mates. Then, after diner with Kelly, Suzan decides to give her a portion of the inheritance that Suzan received from their family. Not bad for a first day in Tinsletown. Soon, Kelly and crew are swinging at the pad of legendary Hollywood record producer Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzel (played by John LaZar - in one of the best roles in the film). Ronnie hears Kelly's music and turns them into an overnight sensation, recording their songs and renaming them "The Carrie Nations." Their albums skyrocket to the top of the charts, but not without the viscous cost of fame. Loves are lost and hearts are broken. The pure-at-heart turns to hedonistic compulsions, while money and drugs consume their very beings. Throw in some kinky sex, nice' rock numbers, garish melodrama, rapid-fire dialog, Meyer's signature camera and editing style and you've got one of the most daring movies ever produced by Hollywood.
A film so far ahead of it's time, no wonder it bewildered the very studio that produced it. It's always great to stick this movie on people who don't know what to expect: "Do I laugh at what I think is supposed to be funny?" "Is this funny?" "Is this serious?" "No way could they have thought this was supposed to be serious." "Is it?" "I'm confused." "I'm entertained - but am I supposed to be?" "Did Roger Ebert really write this?" The answer is `yes' to most of these questions. But no, this film was never meant to be serious. It was a parody before parodies were sheik. A comedy so far removed from what people were used to, even the actors didn't know it.
As screenwriter Roger Ebert can confirm, every single frame in this film is exactly the way the director wanted it. Every joke, edit, camera angle and music cue was meticulously placed by the filmmaker - and in spite of the film's age - it still remains a fresh feast for the ears and eyes. Particularly the eyes. The films of Russ Meyer certainly isn't for everyone, but if you appreciate the kind of cinema that is so bad it's great then his entire catalogue of trash is undoubtedly for you.