Thursday, June 01, 2006

This Is My Happening and it Freaks Me Out!

DVD Talk has a review of the new special edition of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Sounds like a very well-done set, though I'm not sure I really get the whole Russ Meyer phenomenon. When I posted some clips demonstrating Frank Tashlin's obsession with putting women into pin-up-girl poses, a commenter suggested that Tashlin was a bit like Russ Meyer, and I actually think there are some similarities between Tashlin and Meyer: both of them made movies with outlandish jokes and a love-hate attitude to popular culture, and both were obsessed with displaying pulchritudinous women in every scene.

The fun thing about Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is that it's a Russ Meyer movie made with the full resources of Twentieth-Century Fox, which by 1970 was one of the few studios that still had old-school production facilities and technicians. As I wrote in an earlier post, the story of Fox in the late '60s and early '70s is the story of a studio trying to be "with-it" even though most of its productions still had the glossy Old Hollywood look. That gloss and polish, applied to material like Russ Meyer's, is a lot of fun because it's so incongruous to have a Russ Meyer movie photographed by the guy who'd just finished shooting Patton, or worked on by guys like Stuart Reiss who'd been at Fox since the '40s.

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