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Monday, March 14, 2016

Video Beaverhausen: The Valley of the Dolls

Mark Robson's screen version of Jackie Susann's Valley of the Dolls is a camp classic and a gay classic you can quote from forever. "They drummed you out of Hollywood, so you came runnin' back to Broadway. Well, Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope!"

Susan Hayward dominates the film as Broadway legend Helen Lawson. The younger leads are Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke  as Neely. Patty was far afield of her Miracle Worker Oscar days, though she chews up the scenery in an obvious effort to win one.

In the 1980s, I saw a stage parody of this off-Broadway and it was hilarious. The Lawson role was assayed by a man in drag, appropriately.

There is of course the infamous cat fight in the ladies' powder room between Duke and Hayward. "I've got a man waitin' for me." "Not one of the fags you usually go out with?" "Well at least I didn't marry one, honey!" Meeoww!

Amazing how homophobic this film was. "You know how bitchy fags can be." Yet, today, it's all appreciated for its camp value. Classic theme song sung by Dionne Warwick.

So, relax, get ready for some laughs and thrills and enjoy The Valley of the Dolls!

ps: The script for this film does a great job of truncating Susann's novel. A more faithful-to-the-book tv version was made in '81 and it was a sprawling mess.


  1. Love it .. Love it Love it... Thanks Charles.

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  3. The premiere of the movie was an ocean going press junket that originated from Venice. This would be the first time that Jackie was actually seeing the movie. The movie starts,first off,there's something wrong with the projection speed. That gets fixed. And,then the movie finally gets under way. It goes on,and,finally,The End comes on the screen. Jackie was in tears by this point. "My novel! They've ruined my novel!"She retreated to her stateroom,took a handfull of "dolls",and didn't emerge until the ship landed at it's next port of call.