The first ever
pReview retRo Re-viewing
Valley of the Dolls!
CLICK THE TITLE TO VIEW THE TRAILER IN A SEPARATE WINDOW!
(it is highly recommended to view the trailer and THEN read)
(warning: Now with an 84% more relevant writer!)
by Jennifer Fabulous (addended by Jeff Finck)
Release Date: December 15, 1967
Within the first 30 seconds of the Valley of the Dolls trailer, producers want you to know this movie is Serious Effing Business. Cat fights! Pill popping! Nudity! Martinis with nudity! Pills and cat fights! A guy awkwardly, and unsuccessfully(?), trying to unhook a bra like a timid school boy! "Whore!" Are you overwhelmed yet? This is NOT a movie for children.
It's 1967 and chances are (unless you were living in a cave or the bomb shelter your parents built a decade earlier), you already know the premise. Jacqueline Susann's deliciously trashy novel made a startling debut last year, becoming a world-wide best-seller and a source of chagrin for brittle, Bible-thumping mothers in the middle of the country.
The plot revolves around three young women desperate to make it in Hollywood. There is Anne (Barbara Parkins), the sweet girl-next-door who accidentally becomes a successful model. There is Neely (Patty Duke), a talented singer discovered on Broadway who becomes a movie star. And Jennifer (Sharon Tate), the sultry blonde who, of course, becomes the doomed sex symbol. They sleep around and pop pills.
The sexy, exciting premise for the book is unfortunately dampened by the movie trailer's cheesy father-like sounding voice-over. A man, who could easily be your high school principal, tries to make the film sound "cool" when he is in fact making it sound lamer than your parents' bridge party.
The pills are called dolls, he explains in a monotone voice, and they make life exciting. Womp. Womp. (See? EXCITEMENT!!!) And then he's interrupted by Patty Duke randomly screaming her character's name, with blood-curdling despair, because... Well, who knows? Doesn't that make you want to see it?!
To make matters worse, the voice-over guy patiently explains who each actor is playing in the film, along with scandalous soundbites like:
"Have you heard from Jennifer? She wanted to know where she could get an abortion."
"Let's face it, all I know how to do is take off my clothes."
Of course, no film nowadays is complete without a spectacular musical number. Halfway through the trailer, Susan Hayward gives drag queens a run for their money with a show-stopping song and dance. And then it is revealed that the middle-aged Broadway star is no better off than her trampy 20-something counterparts. And her character takes the "yellow pills," the voice-over guys informs us, whatever that means.
The voice-over guy also tells us that the movie is exactly like the book, with every scandal and juicy detail in tact. But then there is a confusing scene in which Barbara Parkins, who plays Anne, saucily tells a man she could sleep with him right there in his house. When he invites her to his bed, she then turns into a schoolmarm and says something like, "That's a marriage bed. What are you implying?" Wait, what? You're being tricked, dude! RUN!
As if things couldn't get any more awkward, right when you're witnessing this train wreck, the voice-over guy taunts you, saying this is the film adaptation of the book YOU wanted it to be. Audiences should shudder at this warning sign. You know something is wrong when producers are blatantly telling you, before the film is even released, that they don't want to take responsibility for it. Although, to soften the blow, shots of Patty Duke looking pathetic are briefly inserted. So, if you weren't a fan of her annoying teenage television show, you could delightfully cackle at scenes of her hungrily scooping pills out of a wrapper like a starved homeless man, and then scrunched on the floor, looking dazed and confused, like a rabid squirrel.
And finally, the cover of the novel is shown once more, just to remind you that the bizarre trailer you just watched is, in fact, based on Valley of the Dolls. (A move probably suggested by studio lawyers). In the end, you're left wondering if you should sully your mind with the film, or let the cherished novel always remain a pleasant memory in your head, and walk away.
Just in case you missed the link on Jennifer Fabulous' name up there..
You should make sure to totally click on this picture right over here --------->
in order to check out her blog: I Know, Right?