Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970)

(On TV, September 2001) Wow, wow, wow… Everyone has to see this film sooner or later, if only for historical relevance. Directed by Russ Meyer and co-written by Roger Ebert (!), this film purports to be a parody, but unless you already know that, you’ll have a hard time telling given how seriously it’s played out. This only makes it funnier, of course! The story is about an all-girl band off to Hollywood to make it rich, but the real value of the film is in the pure-sixties vibe, the ridiculously oh-so-dangerous representation of excesses, the flamboyant characters (ah, that Z-man!) and overall sense of… fun? There is a dynamic “travel” sequence that feels as if it had been edited just yesterday. There’s kitschy melodrama. There is a hilarious moralistic coda (“Their love wasn’t evil… but it allowed evil to happen!”) There are more fancy hairdos than an entire issue of Vogue. But, above all, you’ll get the impression that for all the debauchery and vice going on, there’s nothing more serious than teenage hijinks to be tut-tutted by some invisible adult. A scream, a laugh and a bunch of other stuff, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is worth a look. Keep your ears open for the source of one of Austin Powers‘ best lines.

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