Saturday, July 08, 2006

Come with the Gentle People

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls a review in Double D

AKA: THIS IS MY HAPPENING AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!!!

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) is in fact not the sequel to Valley of the Dolls, however it does deal with similar themes, as well as with themes 'beyond' those of the original film. Directed by Russ Meyer-'pornographer' extraordinaire and interestingly, also former WWII wartime cameraman for George Patton and creator of such popular filsm as Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill, Vixen, and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Vixens. Written by Roger Ebert....yes that Roger Ebert (check out his 'review' of the film here).

plot:

3 groovy girls: Kelly Macnamara,(Dolly Read), Casey Anderson (Cynthia Myers) and Petronella Danforth (Marcia McBroom) take their band 'the Kelly Affair' to Hollywood to 'make it big with...disastrous consequences'. They meet up with Kelly's long lost Aunt Susan (and her inheritance) who serves as their introduction to LA's freakiest including the Phil Spectoresque record producer; Ronnie 'Z-man' Barzell. (John La Zar). Under the Machiavellian control of Z-man, the girls change their name to 'the Carrie Nations' and find out that success with all it's up(per)s and down(er)s, is not exactly what they had anticipated. Mayhem ensues.

Like Valley of the Dolls, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls deals with 3 women's rise to the top and their subsequent downfalls as they get pulled into a seedy world of parties, sex, pills and booze. However, unlike Valley of the Dolls, Beyond... was meant to be a comedy (and satire). The film has been referred to as being one of the worst and one of the best ever made and is a beautiful, hilarious mess; filled with social commentary, melodrama, playmates, Manson style murders, suspense, great production values, lesbian love, mod squad moments, groovy dialogue and most importantly, gianormous breasts. Russ Meyer is in fact a top notch director of the old school and the art direction, editing, music/ incidental soundtrack and props are first rate. So 'if you've been waiting for a film to shake you into the freak out mind blowing scene of right now...' this is it baby. In fact, with a film like this, you get a contact high. I highly recommend it. *ocugh cough*

As with Valley of the Dolls, this dvd comes with an additional disc of extras

including: Interesting and informative documentaries including: featurette about the making of the film and its social commentary; featuring much of the original cast (some of whom have aged well, some of whom are apparently still on 'dolls'), featurette about the music. stills, trailers etc and of course the lesbian love scene (which I could have done without- but to each his own)

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