**UPDATE** Criterion is releasing the film on Bluray this September as well as its unrelated-but-still-great sequel!
I bought this deluxe DVD set in 2006 and recently re-watched it again for the first time in ten years and it really does the film justice. The transfer is great and the extras plentiful and fun. My only complaint has to do with the sound mixing of the musical numbers. The orchestra is so far in the background you can hardly hear the big, brassy arrangements in all their '60s splendor. When I recorded this off the late show back in the '80s the music was so bold and captivating; it can't be appreciated on the DVD, you need to soundtrack album to experience it as it was intended.
2017 will mark the 50th Anniversary of VALLEY so I hope someone at Fox will make sure the film receives the celebratory Blu-Ray release it deserves complete with extras carried over from the 2006 DVD release and some new ones added. For example, it would be great to have contain Judy Garland's version of I'LL PLANT MY OWN TREE. And for God's sake, don't mess with the freakin' music!
P.S. RIP Patty Duke/Neely. The way you snarled, clawed and screeched your way through the movie has made it one of my all-time favorites since that first late show viewing in 1981.
on May 11, 2004
...so you come crawling back to Broadway"....
Just one of a myriad of oh-so-quotable lines from the classic VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, based on Jacqueline Susann's steamy pulp-fiction bestseller of 1966. The acting is pure cheese, the script is a paler, watered-down imitation of Susann's text and the songs are God-awful. But there is something about this little gem that draws me in time after time. I could easily watch it once or twice a day and never get bored with it.
The story recounts three girls in New York: Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins - BEAR ISLAND), Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke - THE MIRACLE WORKER) and Jennifer North (Sharon Tate).
Anne has just arrived from small-town Lawrenceville, and landed a job as secretary in an entertainment law-firm. This leads Anne to the acquaintance of Neely, a young up-and-coming Broadway singer who's just been dumped from the new musical starring Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward - I WANT TO LIVE). The reason?...Neely would easily steal the show, and the only star of a Helen Lawson show is Helen Lawson...!
Anne also meets Jennifer, a sweet but by her own admission, talentless showgirl/model. Anne's boss Lyon Burke (Paul Burke) arranges for Neely to sing on a charity telethon, and she quickly lands her own revue at a prominent nightclub. Jennifer marries handsome crooner Tony Polar (Tony Scotti) against the wishes of his sister/manager Miriam (Lee Grant - VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED). Anne then gets discovered by a cosmetics firm and becomes the glamorous 'Gillian Girl'.
The story moves to Hollywood where both Neely and Tony are turned into movie stars. Success comes too fast and easily for Neely who disappears into a heady world of dolls and alcohol. Tony is tragically struck down with a mysterious disease which leaves him paralysed in a sanitarium. To make ends meet, Jennifer becomes an adult-film star.
After going through two failed marriages, Neely hits bottom and is admitted into a rehab center, at Lyon and Anne's behest. With the offer of a new Broadway musical, Neely emerges and quickly finds her feet again, only to break Anne's heart when she claims Lyon for herself. Jennifer quits the porn business and discovers she has breast cancer.
At a party for Helen Lawson's new musical, which bombed out-of-town, Neely and Helen duke it out in the ladies' room, resulting in the famous wig-ripping scene, which is probably the greatest piece in the whole film.
Another great moment is Susan Hayward singing "I'll Plant My Own Tree" standing in the middle of a huge mobile, constructed of broken traffic-lights! Margaret Whiting provided Hayward's singing, though the role of Helen Lawson was originally earmarked for Judy Garland (and the song reeks of Garland influence).
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is a campy little gem, one that has a HUUUGE and dedicated following. Patty Duke has never eaten so much scenery in any of her subsequent films, Sharon Tate is luminous and Barbara Parkins (aka the Living Mannequin) is just what is called for the role of Anne.
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. A true classic. Accept no substitutes.
on May 25, 2004
Heck - the quotes alone will cover a page. See if you can add to this list:
"I wanted a marriage like mom and dad's, but not yet. First I want new experiences, new faces, new surroundings. Lawrenceville will be there foreveah."
"I remember the night I told them I was going to New York. They said it was a dreadful place for a vacation. I announced I was going to work there."
"George Washington didn't sleep there but he did dip a bucket of water from our well."
"I can still see them standing there waving. Aunt Amy, Mama and Willie. Poor Willie, he didn't know I was leaving his life forevah."
"Queenie's pregnant again. My Siamese. Drat! I hope its not that beat up black Tom."
"Black Siamese should be very pretty. I'm Anne Wells."
"Oh yes, the agency phoned about you. A BA in Radcliffe. Mr. Bellamy will like that. He will thin it will gives the office tone."
"Don't give her that I loved you when I was a little girl routine or she'll stab you in the back."
"Neely never had that hard core like me. She never learned to roll with the punches."
"Find yourself a wife. Have kids. Or one day you'll wind up alone like me. I wonder what the hell happened?"
on December 27, 2003
This movie is weirdly perfect. Everything about it - the photography, music, costumes, hairdos, make-up, script, acting, sets, and color - is beyond dreadful. An inutterably horrible movie, but also one which will never fail to entertain and amuse the truly discerning, or at least those of us with a healthy sense of Schadenfreude.
The book, of course, has not been violated: that it was ever anything but subliterate, jaw-droppingly horrible, and as common as kitty litter would never occur to my or any mind. The actors are given so little to work with that they shouldn't be faulted for giving performances of unbelievable badness, but dear little Patty Duke goes above and beyond the call of duty: her Neely O'Hara must rank as the funniest essay in sheer tastelessness in all of cinema.
Even she is exceeded by Susan Hayward, who exhibits not so much a lack of any discernible talent whatsoever - though that too - as an illiteracy of the soul.
If I had the pen and wit of Bernard Shaw I'd try to describe the "songs" and "music" - if one may use those terms for courtesy.
Enough said. If you're in a mood to laugh yourself silly over one of the worst, most tasteless exhibitions ever committed to celluloid - and at that an adaptation of a truly tacky piece of literary offal - do rent this. You may need a barf bag!
on December 11, 2003
YES!,both Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
are available on DVD in Australia Zone4 I wonder why not in the USA?.Oh well,anyway my flatmate put me on to this film and I've got to say its a hoot!,from the opening voice over by Barbara Parkins,the theme song by Dionne Warrwick,to the truly bad songs
sung by Patti Duke and Tony Scotti and Susan Heywood (I'll plant my own tree?,whats that all about?),its just sooooo bad!
and thats the reason I love it!.Neely O'hara,(I gotta be up at
5 o'clock in morning and Sparkle,Neely,Sparkle!)such an ambitious little girl,stepping on everyone and everything to get to the top,the Sanitorium scenes were just hysterical!
Barbara Parkins as the "good girl" Anne Welles,even she succumbs
to the "dolls",and the stunning Sharon Tate as Jennifer (Boobies
Boobies,boobies,I did pretty well without 'em),thanks Neely,she
and Tony's characters I found the sweetest and that scene,that
catfight between Susan Haywood and Patti,what a freakin' hoot!
wig down the dunny,and that stunning pantsuit that Susan Haywood was wearing,what a blast!.Poor old Martin Milner as Neely's hubby,being so brutally dismissed and stepped on by Neely,GO Babe!.All in all Valley of the Dolls I'd put firmly
in my Top10 favorites,and to see it in a widescreen DVD,albeit
with nothing in the way of special features whatsoever is nothing short of a miracle,the picture is beautiful,the soundtrack stereo and clear,I even went so far as to tape the opening voiceover and title song to play in the car,its that good...LOVE IT!
on October 22, 2003
If you're reading this review, then you're ovbviously a fan of the film "VALLEY OF THE DOLLS". If you're not in a coma, then I'm sure that you, like me, desperately want this great film to be released on DVD. So let's all band together and take some action!
Let's all write FOX STUDIOS and petition to have "VALLEY OF THE DOLLS" released as a DELUXE SPECIAL EDITION WIDESCREEN DVD with plenty of extras!
Please simply print-out the following open letter on your computer, and mail it to FOX and DEMAND that we get this on DVD as soon as possible!!!
Dear Fox Studios:
I hereby declare that "Valley of the Dolls" is THE best motion picture of all-time, and I insist and demand that you release it on DVD in a DELUXE SPECIAL EDITION as soon as possible!
"VALLEY OF THE DOLLS" deserves a DVD presentation that includes:
*Original W I D E S C R E E N presentation!
*Deleted scenes and out-takes!
*Restored theatrical release with the unedited love scene with Sharon Tate!
*Interviews with cast members!
*Judy Garland's unused scenes and out-take scenes!
*Judy Garland's soundtrack version of "I'll Plant My Own Tree!"
*Original theatrical trailers from "VOD" and other Jacqueline Susann films!!
*Interviews with Jacqueline Susann!
*Costume tests with Judy Garland and other cast members!
*Stereo 5.1 Surround-Sound!
*Digitally-enhanced and restored film print-transfer to DVD!
*Trivia information, such as how and why Marilyn Monroe's voice was used in the film! (They also used one of Marilyn Monroe's costumes from "There's No Business Like Show Business!)
*Any and all additional extras that you can possibly pack onto the DVD disc!
Let's get going on this, it's already been too long for this fabulous film to be released on DVD!
(Your Name Here)
I'm serious! The only way to get this FABULOUS movie on DVD at last is to let FOX know how much we want it! I hope you'll all take some action to make it happen.
In the meantime, remember to get up at 5 in the morning and "Sparkle, Neely, sparkle"!!!
on July 20, 2003
The first time i saw this my better half wanted t owatch it so we sat down and for a few hours i laughed at a movie that was supposed to be serious but was so campy it was funny. Three women Barbra perkins(a secretary), patty duke (a singer/movie star, and sharon tate (a model) all try to make it in the world and all three resort to drugs. my better half loves jackie suzann books, and although Jackie's books are not my favorites i would still give them a chance. ther e are so many over the top scenes. my favorites had to be the sanitarium with patty duke and the catfight between patty duke and susan hayward ( i was laughign so hard) "meow". i also think the music score is nice no to mention the title song which i like sung by dionne warwick.
its one of those movies you can sit and watch and not have to think. another movie that is funn but not intentionally is mommie dearest which i have also watched countless times over the years. rent or buy this video! campy and hilarious!
on May 18, 2003
Having recently seen Russ Meyer's unrelated BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and immensely enjoying it, it seemed that this famously awful movie would tempt my trashy tastebuds. I couldn't have been more wrong. This adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's novel is a mind numbingly awful sudser about three young women who get into showbiz and soon fall victims to all the excesses that go with it (The "dolls" of the title is a drug reference). You could be forgiven for expecting better since the movie is directed by Mark Robson (VON RYAN'S EXPRESS, as well as several of Karloff's low budget 40s horror flicks). Sadly; bad directing, acting and of course, writing (to be expected given the source material) make VALLEY OF THE DOLLS a prime example of how NOT to make a movie. In Patty Duke's opening singing number 15 mins into the film, you wish someone would bop her on the head with a mallet and put her out of her misery (ditto the viewer). The only brightness in this soapy celluloid cesspool comes from the beautiful Sharon Tate; but watching her you can't help but feel a twinge of melancholy.
Author Susann has an obligatory cameo appearance. She is truly a revelation. This proves she can't write OR act. In summation, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is awful in all departments; and a must-see for fans of trash like DAYS OF OUR LIVES and other soaps; though it's probably too cerebral for your average SHORTLAND STREET viewer. But I won't go there. Don't say you were't warned.
on February 20, 2003
For those who love to hate Valley of the Dolls, keep in mind no one was trying to surpass Citizen Kane so it isn't going to be oozing with cerebral content. Chill out people. Remember, this was 1967--back then, the movie was shocking. By our standards today, hardly (do we even have the ability to be shocked anymore?). Yet this movie continues to have some sublime impact on me. Does it hit me everytime I reach for my bottle of Tylenol PM?. haha No--maybe it's the standard premise--3 woman, initially innocents, who happen upon success, failure & how each chooses a different way to handle their dilemmas (& they have their share!). Common demoninator--drugs. Therein lies the realistic portion of the flick--it was the early days of Valium, etc consumption & does paint a true picture in this arena. Valley of the Dolls is what it's supposed to be--simple entertainment. I never fail to reach for Kleenex at the end. Theme song is moving, the story--one could call it trash, one could call it soap opera but I call it so much fun! Patty Duke gives the standout performance, along with Susan Hayward. Sharon Tate is exquisite. A perfect physical specimen if not the greatest actress of our time; her performance in V of the D's should be appreciated. Probably the most disturbing part of Valley of the Dolls is the knowledge of the tragic end to Tate's brief life. Costuming--hey, this is really most delightful! Everything is back in style. Check out the wardrobe. These styles are on the racks again! My only complaint with the film is the poor selection of male actors. Their performances are bland, at best. If anything drags the movie down, it's them. Watch Valley of the Dolls for it is pleasing in many respects. Great way to spend an afternoon--camp out with some popcorn & Kleenex and enjoy this Max Factor classic!
on December 17, 2002
Although it is said that no one sets out to make a bad movie intentionally, how deluded could the makers of "Valley of the Dolls" have been to hold their noses and finish this steaming pile of cinematic limburger? Could anyone have looked at the dailies and said with a straight face, "We are making art"?! Given the high hopes for this film, and the appalling results, I can only say, Watch it and laugh your fool head off.
I describe "VotD" to friends as "the longest 85-minute film you will ever see"; I also tell them that it's a must-see if they have a stomach for High Camp. Although it seems that quite a bit of money must have been spent on this flick, there is an undeniable cheesiness to every set, every costume, every lacquered hairdo. Direction and cinematography are frankly horrible. And the way that the action just STOPS for a montage of Patty Duke exercising (...) or Barbara Parkins modeling (...)-- brilliantly bad. Yell the howlingly bad dialogue along with the actors-- it's Primal Scream therapy on video, and you'll feel better immediately.
Patty Duke must have sensed that she had to kick up her performance to make up for Sharon Tate's (unfortunately) wooden work (I get the feeling she knew this was junk) and Barbara Parkin's sleepwalking. Patty tears at her role as if she were Medea playing Hedda Gabler after three days on cocaine; not only does she chew the scenery, she spits it out at the audience and then goes to work on the proscenium arch. Thankfully, Susan Hayward gives it back in tough-as-nails line readings-- even if her climactic musical number has her wobbling like a water buffalo on 5-inch platform heels while translucent mobiles threaten to knock her over (pills? Booze? Shame?).
In the face of these mind-boggling ladies, the men in the cast barely register. For which they're profoundly thankful, I'm sure.
This must have been pretty scandalous in the late 60s; now, it's laughably quaint. This is perfect viewing for a Swinging 60s theme party. Break out the Nehru jackets and Pucci shifts-- we're going on a walk through the shadow of the "Valley of the Dolls"!!!