Episode 184 – Mark Robson’s Valley of the Dolls

This time on the podcast, David Blakeslee and Catherine Stebbins discuss the 1967 Hollywood blockbuster Valley of the Dolls.

Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s sensational and wildly popular novel. Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, and Sharon Tate star as three friends attempting to navigate the glamorous, pressurized world of big-time show business—the “valley” is not a place but a narcotized state of mind, and the “dolls” are the pills that rouse them in the morning and knock them out at night. Blending old-fashioned gloss with Madison Avenue grooviness, director Mark Robson’s slick look at the early days of sexual liberation and an entertainment industry coming apart was a giant box-office hit, and has become an unforgettably campy time capsule of the 1960s.

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Episode Links Criterion Wikipedia ValleyOfTheDolls.
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Valley of the Dolls

High camp or just plain trash? A cultural-cinematic swamp in perfectly rotten taste, this adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's supermarket 'dirty book' seeks out tawdry sleaze like no American movie had before. Junk beyond belief, and great entertainment if you're in a sick frame of mind. Valley of the Dolls Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 835 1967 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 123 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date September 27, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Sharon Tate, Susan Hayward, Tony Scotti, Martin Milner, Charles Drake, Alexander Davion, Lee Grant, Naomi Stevens, Robert H. Harris, Jacqueline Susann, Robert Viharo, Joey Bishop, George Jessel, Dionne Warwick, Sherry Alberoni, Margaret Whiting, Richard Angarola, Richard Dreyfuss, Marvin Hamlisch, Judith Lowry. Cinematography William H. Daniels Film Editor Dorothy Spencer Conductor / Music Adaptor John Williams Written by Helen Deutsch, Dorothy Kingsley Jacqueline Susann Produced by Mark Robson, David Weisbart Directed by Mark Robson

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

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On this day: Joan Allen, Jcvd Movies, and Jacqueline Susann

On this day as it relates to showbiz history...

1858 Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution. That one that caused Spencer Tracy so much trouble in Inherit the Wind.

1882 Tchaikovsky debuts his "Overture of 1812". It's still used in movies two centuries later in a truly diverse range of movies including The Iron Lady, Laurence Anyways, V For Vendetta and The Blind Side

1918 Novelist Jacqueline Susann is born. Her trashy best-sellers become hit movies and even turn Oscar heads: Valley of the Dolls (1967 best score nomination)  and Jacqueline Susann's Once is Not Enough (1975, best supporting actress nomination)

1931 Fright haired boxing promoter Don King is born. Sixty-six and a ½ years later Ving Rhames wins the Golden Globe playing him in a TV movie. Remember that sweet but odd moment when Ving Rhames invited Jack Lemmon on stage with him to share the award he had just lost for 12 Angry Men? King's
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Kieslowski, ‘Cat People,’ and the Coen Brothers Lead The Criterion Collection’s September Line-Up

Kieslowski, ‘Cat People,’ and the Coen Brothers Lead The Criterion Collection’s September Line-Up
September tends to be the time of year that movie studios start busting out the big guns, and 2016 finds the Criterion Collection following suit, as the boutique home video label will be releasing one of the most significant cinematic landmarks on which they’ve yet to put their stamp.

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s mammoth “Dekalog” makes the company’s September lineup something of a bumper crop in and of itself, but — lucky for us — it’ll be accompanied by an essential Kenji Mizoguchi classic, two ample doses of Jacqueline Susann-inspired campiness, some old school Coen brothers and much more. Check out the full release slate below, listed in rough order of our excitement for each title.

1.) “Dekalog” (dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988), Spine #837

This would be at the very top of the list regardless of what else Criterion is releasing in September. One of the greatest achievements in all of film (though
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From the People Archive: Inside Patty Duke's Life and 'Heartbreaking' Youth as a Child Star

From the People Archive: Inside Patty Duke's Life and 'Heartbreaking' Youth as a Child Star
Patty Duke, best known as Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker and for headlining her own sitcom, has died, She was 69. In 1985, just ahead of her 40th birthday, the actress sat down with People to discuss love, career and her troubled past. Read the profile below:

"Little Patty Duke is gonna be 40 next year? Wow! How can that be? I'd swear she was 18 just a minute ago!"

Little Patty Duke – and at an even five feet she still Is little – giggles at her self-parody. "That's exactly how I feel about it," she says, "like someone who's been watching
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R.I.P. Patty Duke

Acclaimed actress Patty Duke has died at the age of 69. USA Today reports that the actress passed away earlier this morning due to sepsis from a ruptured intestine.

Duke won an Oscar at the age of sixteen for her portrayal of Helen Keller in 1962's "The Miracle Worker" which led to the successful 1963 ABC sitcom "The Patty Duke Show" and the controversial film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's "The Valley of the Dolls".

After years of struggle with an undiagnosed mental illness, Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed lithium, which she credits with saving her life and led to her becoming an advocate for mental illness treatment.

She married "The Addams Family" actor John Astin and ultimately had three children (two with him). One of her sons, "The Lord of the Rings" actor Sean Astin, released the following statement on Facebook:

I love you mom.Our Family Statement
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Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

This is my film review and it Freaks Me Out!  Girlie-art legend Russ Meyer and then- tyro critic Roger Ebert fashion the most garish, vulgar and absurd satire of wild Hollywood that they can think of, a camp vision of joy straight from the dizzy imagination of a breast-obsessed glamour photographer. All your favorites are here -- Erica Gavin, Dolly Read, Marcia McBroom, Cynthia Meyers, Edy Williams. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls + The Seven Minutes Region B Blu-ray + Pal DVD Arrow Video (UK) 1970 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 109 min. / Street Date January 18, 2016 / Available from Amazon UK £17.99 Starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Meyers, Marcia McBroom, Erica Gavin, John Lazar, Michael Blodgett, David Gurian, Edy Williams, Phyllis Davis, Harrison Page, Duncan McLeod, Charles Napier, Haji, Pam Grier, Coleman Francis, The Strawberry Alarm Clock. Cinematography Fred J. Koenecamp Editors Dann Cahn, Dick Wormell Original Music Stu Phillips Written by Roger Ebert, Russ Meyer Produced and
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Review: Russ Meyer's "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" (1970) And "The Seven Minutes" (1971); Double Feature Release From Arrow Films

  • CinemaRetro
By Darren Allison

(This review pertains to a region 2 UK release).

Mark Robson’s Valley of the Dolls (1967) became something of commercial success, despite being generally panned by the critics. Following the murder of Sharon Tate, the film was re-released in 1969 and once again proved to be a success with audiences. In December 1969, filming began on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), a film that was intended as a direct sequel to Robson’s movie. Jacqueline Susann, the original author of Valley of the Dolls had been approached to write a screenplay, but declined the offer. Instead, director Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert, took on and completed the task in just six weeks. Ebert described it as ‘a satire of Hollywood conventions’ while Meyer leant more towards ‘a serious melodrama, a rock musical […]and a moralistic expose of the nightmarish world of Show Business’.

This film is set around a female band,
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Collins' Sex Novels Have Enjoyed Unexpectedly Few Film Versions (The Stud, The Bitch)

Joan Collins in 'The Bitch': Sex tale based on younger sister Jackie Collins' novel. Author Jackie Collins dead at 77: Surprisingly few film and TV adaptations of her bestselling novels Jackie Collins, best known for a series of bestsellers about the dysfunctional sex lives of the rich and famous and for being the younger sister of film and TV star Joan Collins, died of breast cancer on Sept. 19, '15, in Los Angeles. The London-born (Oct. 4, 1937) Collins was 77. Collins' tawdry, female-centered novels – much like those of Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz – were/are immensely popular. According to her website, they have sold more than 500 million copies in 40 countries. And if the increasingly tabloidy BBC is to be believed (nowadays, Wikipedia has become a key source, apparently), every single one of them – 32 in all – appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list. (Collins' own site claims that a mere 30 were included.) Sex
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10 actors who finally embraced their campiest films

  • Hitfix
10 actors who finally embraced their campiest films
Something amazing happened over the weekend: Elizabeth Berkley, who once riled us with caffeine melodrama as Jessie Spano on "Saved by the Bell," embraced a critical part of her past. She voiced support for the cult phenomenon of "Showgirls," her wildly over-the-top 1995 bomb that has become arguably the campiest piece of '90s iconography. She gave a wonderful speech to a rapt La audience, who rigorously salted their French fries in approval. But not everybody can be as cool as Berkley. (Looking at you, Faye Dunaway.) Here are ten actors who've embraced the silly, dubious, or campiest movies in their filmography. 1. Jane Fonda, "Barbarella" After "Barbarella," Jane Fonda scored seven Oscar nominations, two wins, and a brand new reputation as one of the more strident celebrities of the '70s. It took her awhile to acknowledge the campy fun in "Barbarella," the swingin' sci-fi sex adventure she made her then-husband Roger Vadim,
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Cocktails & Classics Gives Film Geeks a Cinematic Education – with a Twist

Cocktails & Classics Gives Film Geeks a Cinematic Education – with a Twist
Movie geeks, get ready to camp out.

On Sunday, a new series on Logo called Cocktails & Classics brings together the people behind some of the most beloved – and, yes, often over-the-top – films of all time with the entertainment fixtures who have made a career out of obsessing over them.

An exclusive episode from Cocktails' premiere episode, which accompanies 1989's Steel Magnolias, reveals the insider-y, chatty flavor of the series, which host Michael Urie tells People is all about digging into "finding out what it is about these films that made them classics."

Unlike many movie companion series, Cocktails & Classics is "not just trivia,
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Mindy Newell: Defining Oneself

  • Comicmix
I have been engrossed for the last week in Infidel, an autobiography that chronicles the life and times of political activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and how she became who and what she is. Ms. Ali will be familiar to those readers of this column, who, like me, strive to never miss an episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. She has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, and just about every news organization around the world – though I don’t know if she has ever been invited onto Al-Jazeera, even here on the U.S. version.

But if not, here’s a short version of Ms. Ali’s biography. Born into a traditional Muslim family in Somalia in 1969, her father was Hirsi Magan Isse, a leader of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front and who was actively involved in the Somalian Revolution against the Siad Barre government.
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Josh Gad Tapped to Play Roger Ebert Opposite Will Ferrell in 'Russ & Roger Go Beyond'

Josh Gad Tapped to Play Roger Ebert Opposite Will Ferrell in 'Russ & Roger Go Beyond'
Comedian Josh Gad ("Frozen," TV's "New Girl," the upcoming "The Wedding Ringer") is in talks to star as film critic Roger Ebert opposite Will Ferrell's Russ Meyer in "Russ & Roger Go Beyond," producer David Permut told Hollywood Elsewhere in Palm Springs on Sunday. With a script by "SNL"'s Christopher Cluess, the buddy comedy chronicles Ebert and director Meyer's collaboration on the salacious, 1970 cult melodrama "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"—the first and only screenplay Ebert ever wrote. More a parody than a sequel of the 1967 Jacqueline Susann adaptation "Valley of the Dolls," the X-rated, sex-filled farce about a girl band was penned in just six weeks. Though the deal has yet to be set in stone, Gad is on board according to Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells (who takes issue with his casting) and The Wrap. Permut originally wanted Jonah Hill to play Ebert, but that fell through.
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New 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Cover is So Creepy

  • Hitfix
New 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Cover is So Creepy
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the classic children's book about a poor kid who thinks a Golden Ticket is good enough proof that he should run a gigantic chocolate empire, turns 50 this year. To celebrate, Penguin is releasing the book with a new cover. Oh my god, this cover. The thing is, I get it. Roald Dahl is a macabre author (and morally dubious person, by the way) whose stories contain scary, creepy, and downright mean moments often directed at children. Surely Dahl, a fan of the grotesque, would relish the weirdness of this cover. But is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" really about superficiality or vanity or plasticine values, as this photo depicts? I think it's more about Charlie realizing his conscience is worth a splendid factory of goodies. Veruca and Violet are merely sideshows in the underdog tale at hand, and they're the ones being represented here.  That said,
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Will Ferrell Could Play Russ Meyer In "Beyond"

Will Ferrell is circling the role of soft core film producer Russ Meyer in "Russ & Roger Go Beyond," an indie film about the making of cult classic "Beyond The Valley of the Dolls".

The story is set in the very late 1960s when cheap counterculture films made big money. Meyer was the outlaw helmer of soft-core pulp films such as "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill" but wanted to make a legitimate studio film.

At the time, 20th Century Fox was in desperate need of a low-cost, high returning hit after a series of flops. Meyer agreed to take on the film, originally a sequel to but ultimately a parody of the film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's enormous hit "Valley of the Dolls".

There was one condition, that a third string movie critic at the time named Roger Ebert would pen the script. Ebert was one of the few people who
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Five Potential Horrors For Next Season of 'American Horror Story'

  • FEARnet
Five Potential Horrors For Next Season of 'American Horror Story'
Now that Miss Robichaux’s Academy is closed for business after a season which played out like the bastard offspring of Dennis Wheatley and Jacqueline Susann, American Horror Story fanatics are already filled with a giddy sense of anticipation at what demented devilry the show’s creators will serve up when the fourth season rolls around in the fall.

The kind of creative risks and innovative storytelling displayed in American Horror Story might well have proven the kiss of death for a show in less capable hands. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk cunningly side-stepped this by utilizing an anything-goes format and taking a familiar core concept (i.e. haunted house, institution, witches coven) in a refreshingly bold direction where nothing is outside the realm of possibility (and in many instances: of plausibility) and absolutely nothing is sacred.

So it begs the question: where will they go next? We know that
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Lena Dunham unveils cover for upcoming book 'Not That Kind of Girl'

  • Pop2it
It won't hit shelves until this fall, but Lena Dunham's giving fans a taste of her upcoming book "Not That Kind of Girl."

The "Girls" creator and star took to Twitter on Monday (Feb. 10) with a short tweet: "It's official. Coming 10/7/15." Attached to the tweet was a link to an Instagram photo of the book jacket, an all-text cover that brings to mind Jacqueline Susann's '60s novel, "Valley of the Dolls."

On the Amazon pre-order page, Dunham describes the book herself. Brace yourself, it's a lot:

"If I can take what I've learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises
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Lena Dunham Shows Off Her Retro Book Cover and Reveals the Release Date

  • BuzzSugar
Season three of Girls is in full swing, and creator/all-around smart cookie Lena Dunham has given the world a peek at her upcoming book, Not That Kind of Girl. Dunham shared the cover on her Instagram account along with the official release date: Oct. 7. The cover is simplistic and memorable, and the color scheme and font are really reminiscent of Jacqueline Susann's 1966 classic, Valley of the Dolls. Are you excited to read it, or is the autobiography not on your list? Source: Instagram user lenadunham
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"Valley of the Dolls" Remake Coming?

In perhaps the strangest casting rumor of the year so far, the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Emmy Rossum are all said to be up for roles in a new darkly comedic adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's novel "Valley of the Dolls" for 20th Century Fox.

The book spans two decades and covers the career highs and ultimate self-destruction of three female best friends: Anne Welles, who works at a Broadway talent agency; Neely O’Hara, a vaudeville star; and Jennifer North, a showgirl. The title refers to the barbiturates (sleeping pills) they all become addicted to.

An instant success, 'Dolls' has sold more than 30 million copies and essentially gave birth to the modern genre of female authors (like Jackie Collins) who write sexually scandalous stories in the roman-a-clef style - telling the stories of real-life rich and famous people under the guise of fiction.

The book
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Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway Eyed for Valley of the Dolls Remake

Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway Eyed for Valley of the Dolls Remake
20th Century Fox is gearing up to remake the 1967 cult classic Valley of the Dolls, with the studio eyeing actresses such as Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Emmy Rossum for starring roles.

The original movie, based on Jacqueline Susann's novel, starred Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke and Sharon Tate as starlets Anne Welles, Neely O'Hara and Jennifer North, with the story charting their rise and fall in the movie and theater industry. The remake, which is being written by Paul Rudnick (The First Wive's Club, In & Out), is centered on the modern-day music business in Hollywood, particularly centering on Neely O'Hara's fall from grace. The remake is being conceived as a dark comedy.

Madonna is being courted to play Broadway star Helen Lawson, a role originally portrayed by Susan Hayward which was initially intended for Judy Garland. Jennifer Lawrence is being eyed to play Jennifer North, Anne Hathaway is
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