Barbara Parkins……….Anne Welles
Patty Duke……….Neely O’Hara
Paul Burke……….Lyon Burke
Sharon Tate……….Jennifer North Polar
Susan Hayward……….Helen Lawson
Tony Scotti……….Tony Polar
Alexander Davion……….Ted Casablanca
Robert H. Harris……….Henry Bellamy
Jacqueline Susann……….Reporter #1 at Jennifer’s suicide
Joey Bishop……….MC at Cystic Fibrosis telethon
George Jessel……….MC at Grammy Awards aka Toastmaster General
Richard Dreyfuss……….Assistant stage manager
20th Century Fox presents Valley Of The Dolls. Written by Helen Deutsch & Dorothy Kingsly Based on the Novel by Jacqueline Susann Running Time: 123 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements including drug abuse some sexual content, partial nudity, and language.)
This film hasn’t earned the term “Cult Classic” for no reason. The dialogue is completely over the top and the performances even more so. Patty Duke is hamming it up every second she’s on the screen.
This is the story of three women and their time in Show Business. Anne Welles is a small time girl who goes to New York to get a job; the one she lands is a secretary for a Talent Agent. Neely O’Hara is a young woman trying to make it big, and boy does she. Jennifer North is also a small time girl trying to make in the industry, she’s got the looks but no talent. This film shows how they meet and become friends, we see them through good times and bad, boyfriend after boyfriend and sometimes a husband or two. And the drugs! Pills, pills, pills, everywhere pills, or “dolls” as they’re referred to here.
Neely becomes huge but she can’t handle it and the pills bring her down driving her into a sanitarium. Jennifer marries a singer who contracts a terminal disease and she’s forced to go to France and act in “art” films. Neely points out that they are just “Nudies!” Anne gets best deal, she gets screwed over by a couple of guys but that’s about it.
There are some fantastic montage sequences in this film that just boggle the mind… in a good way.
Like all great cult classics, when this film was released it was bashed by the critics, and the author as well. Even the actresses involved distanced themselves from the film. But audiences loved every cheesy over the top moment of this film and the rest is history.
There are some very classic moments in this film. When Neely and Helen Lawson (amazingly over acted by Susan Hayward) get in a fight in the ladies room at a ritzy party, Neely rips off Helen’s wig and tries to flush it down the toilet. The other great moment in this film also belongs to Patty Duke. Neely has lost everyone and starts screaming out their names into the sky ending with the blood curling scream of her own name “NEELY O’HARA!”
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 8/10
TOTAL POINTS: 38/50
FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10
Patty Duke as Neely O’Hara. “NEELY O’HARA!”
The film is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1. For a film almost 40 years old, it looks great! Very vibrant and colorful.
This film is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo & Mono. (also in Spanish) The sound in this film is good too. All the songs and over the top acting is preserved near perfection.
Audio Commentary By Barbara Parkins & E!’s Ted Casablanca: You can practically see Ted drooling over Barbara as he compliments her over and over. Pretty fun stuff here, if you’re a rabid Dolls fan.
Gotta Get Off This Merry-Go-Round: Sex, Dolls And Showtunes Documentary: This is a great 45 minute documentary about ever facet of this film: the popularity of the film and how it achieved cult static, the recent Off-Broadway performances of the film, and the best moments of the film. In this camp is defined as when ones tries to make a serious film and makes a funny one. They also talk about why gay men love this film so much.
Trivia Overdose: A Pill-Popping Guide To Valley Of The Dolls: Remember Pop-Up Video on VH1? It’s like that but all the tidbits on info appear in the bottom black bar of the widescreen. The information here is pretty much the same stuff you get from the documentaries just in text form.
The Divine Ms. Susann Featurette: This talks about author who wrote the book, where her inspiration came from and her outrage at how horrible the film was. It also talks about how most the book was based on her own personal stories and most the characters were based on real Stars.
Hollywood Backstories: Valley Of The Dolls: This piece done for E! goes into all the drama that happened back stage between the actress and others. There are great interviews with the actresses. Patty Duke talks about how she hated the film for a long time but it has finally grown on her and she accepts it for the camp classic that it is. It repeats a lot of the same information as the documentary on disc one but has new insights as well.
Screen Test Of The Stars: Those most interesting of these is Barbara Parkins screen test for Neely O’Hara.
Valley Of The Dolls: A World Premier Voyage (1967): This is an old made for TV documentary about the world premier of this which happened on a boat that started in Venice and ended in Miami where the actually premier took place. It included interviews with all the stars, wh o each skirt around the issue of the girls in the film being based on real actresses. It’s great to see what these kinds of documentaries looked like in the 60’s. This has a camp value all it’s own.
Jacqueline Susann And “Valley Of The Dolls” (1967): This is a documentary about Ms. Susann and her book. Again, it’s very dated and great to see how they made these featurettes back then.
You’ve Got Talent Karaoke – Follow The Bouncing Doll On Three Songs!