Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

NC-17, 109 minutes

 

Parallel to the 20th Anniversary Edition of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, which marks five years since his passing, the Art presents BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS — Mr. Ebert’s first major screenwriting debut and an established cult classic. The film previously screened at the 2007 Ebertfest, at which guests remember Mr. Ebert introducing the film, saying: “It’s my happening baby and it freaks me out.”

In 1970, Twentieth Century-Fox, impressed by the visual zing “King of the Nudies” Russ Meyer (Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!) had been bringing to bargain-basement exploitation fare, handed the director a studio budget and the title to one of its biggest hits, Valley of the Dolls. With a satirical screenplay by Roger Ebert, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS follows three young female rockers going Hollywood, in hell-bent sixties style, under the spell of a flamboyant producer — whose decadent bashes showcase Meyer’s trademark libidinal exuberance. Transgressive and outrageous, this big-studio version of a debaucherous midnight movie is an addictively entertaining romp from one of cinema’s great outsider artists. Whether viewed as the ultimate Sixties’ artifact (featuring a Strawberry Alarm Clock cameo!), the first major studio skin flick, a kooky cult classic, or a benchmark in American cinema (thanks to Russ Meyer’s skillful, and highly influential, cinematography and editing), BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is truly a film unlike any other. (1970, Russ Meyer (Director), Roger Ebert (Writer), USA, English, NC-17, DCP)

“And the movie as a whole? I think of it as an essay on our generic expectations. It’s an anthology of stock situations, characters, dialogue, clichés and stereotypes, set to music and manipulated to work as exposition and satire at the same time; it’s cause and effect, a wind-up machine to generate emotions, pure movie without message. The strange thing about the movie is that it continues to play successfully to completely different audiences for different reasons. When Meyer and I were hired a few years later to work on an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie called WHO KILLED BAMBI? we were both a little nonplussed, I think, to hear Johnny Rotten explain that he liked BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS because it was so true to life.” – Roger Ebert, Film Comment (Read full article)


About the Author



Back to Top ↑