Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mel? God? Neely!

Valley of the Dolls, two-disc special edition. Our terrestrial existence is nearly complete. In case you wonder why this is the Most Important Film ever, let me refresh your memory:

"Ted Casablanca is not a fag, and I'm the dame who can prove it!"

"Mother, I know I don't have any talent, and I know I all I have is a body, and I am doing my bust exercise."

"The only hit that comes out of a Helen Lawson show is Helen Lawson!"

"Boobies, boobies, boobies. Nothin' but boobies. Who needs 'em?"

The fact that the movie was directed by a "respectable" director, Canadian Mark Robson (who worked on most of Val Lewton's movies, first as editor, then as director), makes it all the more insane. Oh, and the screenwriters, Helen Deutsch and Dorothy Kingsley, were both veterans of glossy comedies and musicals at MGM. And the producer, David Weisbart, had scored a big hit with Rebel Without a Cause some years earlier and no doubt saw this project as another chance to tap into the zietgeist. No movie better exemplifies how completely, utterly, lost the big studios were in the late '60s, tossing huge amounts of money and studio gloss at the most putrid material. God bless 'em.

There's also a two-disc special edition of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (not a sequel, but a parody of the original), with commentary by the screenwriter, Roger Ebert. It says something about Valley of the Dolls that it makes a Russ Meyer movie look respectable by comparison.

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