Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cohenside and the Valley Of The Dolls

The camp classic film from the sixties and its sequel are coming to DVD and Fox wants me to help promote it. No kidding. Seriously. Me. I know, I know. Jokes on them right? Seriously, though, Ahem…

For the upcoming release, I have agreed to post a little flashing banner on my page and review the films when they send them to me. I had to do some research because besides knowing they were films of the sixties and the original was Sharon Tate’s last film, that’s about all I knew about the movies.

Valley of the Dolls was a book originally published in 1966 to commercial success, based on novelist Jacqueline Susann's experience in Hollywood in the 1940s. It followed the exploits of three women who succumb to the “dolls” of Hollywood, drugs, of course. This classic film is classified as “Cult Favorite.” I can only imagine that that means it’s a movie that’s so bad it’s good! Can’t wait for my copies to arrive. Because when good girls go “bad”, that’s when the fun begins on my Saturday night.

Let’s start at the beginning and make some direct connections here. This film was scored by the now famous John Williams. You might remember this guys from such musical scores like “Da Da Da Daaaa Daa Du Du Du Daaa Daa. Da Da Du Daaaa Daa Du Du Du Dummmm.” Or my favorite, “Bum Ba Dum Dum Dum Da Dum, Bum Ba Dum Dumm, Dum Da Dum Dum Dum, Dum Da Dum Dummmmm, Ba Da Dummm, Da Da Da Daaaa Dumm Da Da Da Daaa Dumm.” Or my other favorite soon to be revived in a film by Bryan Singer, “Brummm Ba Da Da Dumm Da Da Dumm, Ba Da Da Dumm Da Da Da Da Dumm Dat Dumm Dumm.” Yes. The guy who scored Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Superman did Valley of the Dolls as well. I say sweet!

Of course, then there’s the little thing about the person who helped adapt this thing to the screen. This guy known by the quality of his thumbs, Roger Ebert. Before he and Siskel killed ‘em with their witty banter and their opposable digits, he wrote the adaptation to this film AND it’s sequel. I guess that was enough for old Roger and decided it was safer on the other side of the silver screen, eating popcorn and throwing tomatoes instead of getting hit by them.

The actresses who almost starred in this film are like a walk down the cavalcade of starlettes of the day: Candace Bergen, Marlo Thomas, Judy Garland, Petula Clark, Raquel Welch, Ann Margret, Tammy Grimes, Bette Davis, and Jill Ireland were all considered for parts. My god, what this film could have been for those actresses. Instead, the film was cast with Susan Hayward, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke and Barbara Parkins.

The campy look and feel of this film is personally responsible for inspiring Michael Myers to model his Austin Powers movies after them. The cultists who admire this film are mostly film buffs and gay men. A group whom I can only say I belong to one half, the other wouldn’t have me!

I should receive the disks in a few days and I will be reviewing them right here. Look for them, coming soon.

See below for the press release by Fox:


CENTURY CITY, Calif. – Get twelve steps closer to superstardom as Fox Home Entertainment exposes Hollywood’s most shaming secrets when Valley Of The Dolls and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls debut on DVD June 13, 2006. These two legends of camp – from the twisted minds of scandal-making sixties icon Jacqueline Susann, (actress, author, screenwriter and thinly veiled subject of Valley Of The Dolls), and midnight movie kingpin Russ Meyer (Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill!) respectively – horrified critics and enthralled audiences when they opened in theaters and have both remained cult classics ever since. Valley Of The Dolls stars Oscar® winner Patty Duke* (The Miracle Worker), Barbara Parkins (“Peyton Place”) and Sharon Tate (“The Beverly Hillbillies”) as three aspiring starlets who let Hollywood go to their heads. The Valley Of The Dolls DVD arrives loaded with pulpy bonus programming, including the famously sloppy screen test by Judy Garland, as well as original featurettes, “Pill Pop-Up Karaoke,” and much more. Penned by now-famous film critic Roger Ebert, the outrageously over-the-top Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls earned an X-rating on its quest to out-do the scandalous original with the story of a girl-band, The Carrie Nations, who arrive in Hollywood to find only sex, drugs and sleaze. Featuring doll-induced performances by non-actors from the rock and adult film communities, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is a shameless classic that proves “all are available for a price.” Both DVDs are available for $26.98 U.S./$46.98 Canada. Pre-book is May 17.

DVD Features:
The Valley Of The Dolls (1967):
Straight from the best-selling pages of Jacqueline Susann’s audacious novel comes the unforgettable tale of three glamorous women who will stop at nothing to get to the top. Oscar®-winners Patty Duke, Lee Grant and Susan Hayward team with Sharon Tate and Barbara Parkins for this “absorbing, sensational” (Los Angeles Times) account of “sex, drugs and show business!” (Detour) When a small-town beauty (Parkins) arrives in New York, she becomes instant friends with a struggling singer, Neely (Duke) and actress, Jennifer (Tate). Together the head-strong, career-driven gals embark on a roller-coaster ride of fast-talking men, endless nights of partying, booze…and pills that they call “dolls.” But as they careen down the path to superstardom, their hedonism takes an explosive turn into self-destruction that none of them are prepared for…and one won’t survive!

Bonus materials include:
• Audio Commentary By Actress Barbara Parkins and E!’s Ted Casablanca
• “Gotta Get Off This Merry Go-Round: Sex Dolls And Showtunes” Documentary
• “The Divine Ms. Susann” Featurette
• “Hollywood Backstories: Valley Of The Dolls” Featurette
• Valley Of The Dolls – A World Premiere Voyage Documentary Featuring Rare Footage
• Jacqueline Susann And Valley Of The Dolls Documentary Featuring Rare Footage
• “Pill Pop-Up Karaoke” – Follow The Bouncing Doll On Three Songs!
• Screen Tests Of The Stars

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970):
Step into a delirious kaleidoscope of the psychedelic ’60s in this “hilarious” (L.A. Herald-Examiner) and “lusty” (Playboy) parody of the 1967 hit film The Valley of the Dolls. Directed by auteur filmmaker Russ Meyer (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) and written by fledgling film critic Roger Ebert, this wildly sexy cult classic “spoofs, celebrates and derides the swinging culture all at once” (Village Voice)! Fun-loving bombshells Kelly, Casey and Pet have a rock band, and they’re headed to Hollywood to make it big! Thanks to Kelly’s well-connected aunt, they soon find themselves at a hedonistic love-in thrown by eccentric music promoter Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell. He takes them under his wing, and a new world of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll unfolds. Superstardom is within reach, if only their newfound distractions don’t get in the way!

Bonus materials include:
• Audio Commentary By Roger Ebert, Film Critic And Screenwriter Of Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
• Audio Commentary By Cast Members Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John LaZar And Erica Gavin
• “Above Beneath and Beyond The Valley: The Making Of A Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy”
• “Look On Up At The Bottom: The Music Of The Dolls”
• “The Best Of Beyond” Featurette
• “Sex, Drugs, Music & Murder: Signs Of The Time, Baby!” Featurette
• “Casey & Roxanne: The Love Scene” Featurette
• Screen Tests Of The Stars
• 6 Photo Galleries With More Than 300 Photos


The Phoenix said...

I must be culturally illiterate. I have never heard of these two movies.

ObilonKenobi said...

You're not culturally illiterate, you just don't watch B movies from the sixties! They're pretty obscure. I've heard of them but never saw them. I will let you know what they're like...