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 Posted:   May 11, 2009 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I finally got around to seeing this film, which was basically panned at the time of release (if my information is correct).

And I must admit, it was tough to get through, basically because of two reasons:

1. I found it excruciatingly boring. I actually fell asleep the first two times I tried to watch it, so I had to watch it in three sessions. This may have something to do with the fact that I have zero interest in "behind-the-scenes" showbiz films from these times (I DID like the much earlier 42ND STREET by Busby Berkeley, though, but mostly because of the choreography).

2. It had a little too many "soap opera" intrigues for my taste.

But interesting to see the sexy Sharon Tate in one of the roles. She surely had potential as an actress before her tragic misfortune.

As far as the music is concerned, it isn't always easy to spot what's Previn and what's Williams. The songs are obviously Previn, but the opening song could just as well be Williams. It's very similar to his style at the time, and did - in fact - remind me of his song for HEIDI KEHRT HEIM, of all things.

The score proper seems to be pure Williams for the most part. It's definitely recognizable as such...for example, some of the slightly dissonant cues for the pill/"doll"-eating singer gone havoc could easily have been pulled out of a LOST IN SPACE episode or something. And the soaring string work is unmistakably Williams, especially when he doesn't specifically incorporate instrumental versions of Previn's song tunes.

I don't play the soundtrack very often, but it ain't half bad.

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2009 - 10:56 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

For contractual reasons (I presume), Dionne Warwick's vocal of the main title song, as heard in the film, was replaced by Dory Previn's vocal on the LP.

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2009 - 11:08 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I've never seen this (& never will!). In the 60's, the book was a huge world-wide best seller, & the auther Jacqueline Susann was famous. I don't think many people remember her now (but there was a jokey line about here in "Star Trek: The Voyage Home").

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 2:19 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Despite the critical rejection, this film did very well at the box office. Today it is sort of a cult film because of the "over the top" performances, particularly Patty Duke and Susan Hayward who chew scenery throughout. Also there are weird continuity gaffes, especially at the very end when, after rejecting her suitor, Barbara Parkins leaves her own house with the door open and goes off into the snow. Judy Garland was originally signed to play the Helen Lawson role, but was so problematic on the set that she had to be replaced by Susan Hayward. Garland walked away with all of her wardrobe for the film and wore it during her concerts! A few years ago Fox Movie Channel ran the film along with a documentary in which Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, etc. discussed their experiences during the film's production. It's was a hoot.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

It's was a hoot.

Equally fun was a live version done on stage in L.A. featuring a high-larious low-budget set.

A 5-gallon bucket stood in for the pool, stagehands waved the train of a dress in the air to simulate a fan blowing, and they passed out M&M's in paper cups to the audience as "dolls". What fun!

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....1. I found it excruciatingly boring. I actually fell asleep the first two times I tried to watch it, so I had to watch it in three sessions.....


Are you sure you weren't strung out on dolls like Neely O'Hara, Thor? big grin


In 1967, when this film was released, Susan Hayward, a real stranger to talk shows, went around the circuit promoting the film.

At that point, after marrying a rancher from Carrollton, Georgia, she hadn't been making films regularly for years, and had essentially retired, except for the occasional picture like "Dolls".

One evening on one of the nightly talk shows---I think it might have been Johnny Carson---Carson talked with her about the film, and asked her why she had chosen to come back and make it. Was the part a strong one, one she could sink her teeth into.....was it a good script, a big picture, an important commercial book.....did she have special fondness for the director or her old home studio....her fellow actors?

He kept asking her leading questions, trying to pry an answer from her and hoping for her to say something important about her appearance in the film and her creative aspirations for it, but she kept answering "No" to all the questions. Finally, he gave up and said something to the effect of, "Well, why DID you make the picture?"

She then talked about being alone after her husband had died the previous year, and then she replied, "and I needed gas money for my boat!"

It turned out she had a small boat in the wealthy enclave where she and her husband had lived together, and she loved to tool around in it, but she needed gas to keep it going! After years of getting good scripts, Hayward certainly knew this wasn't one of them, so why not take the studio for a ride, if they were paying the tab.

I've always wondered how many memorable or iconic performances were essayed by actors who needed "gas money for their boats" rather than performed for high-falutin' artistic and creative fulfillment reasons.

In the end, of course, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, reportedly made at a cost of $5,000,000 (big bucks in those days), took in profits of $20,000,000 in the US (also big bucks), and a worldwide gross of about $50,000,000.

Ironically, it was probably the most commercially successful picture Hayward ever made in her 35+ year career.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 2:34 PM   
 By:   MICHAEL HOMA   (Member)

the one and only reason to see this film is a pro named: MISS SUSAN HAYWARD.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)



The Album is fun. Dionne Warwicks vocals are replaced with Dory Previns.

Gail Heidelman dubs for Patty Ducke, as she did in the film.

The Song I'll plant my Own Tree was recorded by four different women.

First by Judy Garland, secondly by Susan Hayward who Hated her own vocal and demanded she be dubbed.
Susan was dubbed by big band vocalist Margaret Whiting. Miss Whiting had a recording contract with another label so her vocal was redone by dubber Eileen Wilson.

Miss Wilson can be heard on the rhino soundtrack for Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse singing Mine for the moment.
Miss wilson also sings Through a Long and Sleepless Night on the soundtrack to Come to the Stable.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 5:03 PM   
 By:   Daniel Schweiger   (Member)

Dude, you don't begin to understand the camp majesty that is VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, not to mention BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. A sense of shagedelic humor is required going into this. If you approach this like you're going to an Igmar Bergman film, you will be very disapointed. Igmar could only wish he would've made something half as entertaining. How I wish I could've seen that LA stage production. At least I got to see POSEIDON ADVENTURE- THE MUSICAL!

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 7:55 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

For a variety of reasons, it's one of my favorite films. But Thor, I'm confused by your post. Are you saying you think Williams did some of the scoring? Because, I don't believe that is true. Previs wrote all of the score. Williams did the orchestrations of that score.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2009 - 8:48 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....For a variety of reasons, it's one of my favorite films. But Thor, I'm confused by your post. Are you saying you think Williams did some of the scoring? Because, I don't believe that is true. Previs wrote all of the score. Williams did the orchestrations of that score......


Andre Previn wrote the songs for the film with his then wife/writing partner, Dory Langdon(Previn), in advance of filming.

These Previn songs were conducted by Williams, who then supervised the music for the overall film, and adapted the Previn melodies, integrated with his own scoring, into the final film.

The orchestrations were by Herb Spencer.

It's all really quite simple.

Alfred Newman did the same thing on CAMELOT, THE KING AND I, SOUTH PACIFIC, and on and on......and Andre Previn did it on GIGI, MY FAIR LADY, PORGY AND BESS, and on and on......Franz Waxman did the same thing on DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS and SAYONARA and on and on.....Max Steiner did the same thing on CASABLANCA, and on and on.....Harry Sukman did the same thing on FANNY under Morris Stoloff's supervision, and on and on.....

You take the other guy's songs, weave them together with your own scoring requirements and the title card usually reads, "Music Supervised and Adapted by......" or "Music Supervised and Scored by......."

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 3:18 AM   
 By:   Thread Assasin   (Member)

Although she has been much-maligned for her performance over the years, I think Patty Duke honestly tried to make this crap work and, in a couple of spots, almost nails it. Unfortunately she, like everyone else in this beloved mess, was done in by the script and direction. I found it interesting that Sharon Tate's screen test shows a better performance than the one she was directed to give in the movie. Also, the original source novel spans 20 years (1945-65) and the compression of events just adds to the overall unbelievability of the movie version. Susann was never going to win a Pulitzer, but the book, for better or worse, is a page-turner. I still think there's a decent movie to be made out of this -- it just hasn't been done yet.

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   Overtones   (Member)

I was in Judy Garland's suite at the St. Regis (she was in New York for Liza's wedding to Peter Allen) when Fox's Linda Schreiber brought the contracts for Judy's signature. She was in pretty good shape and needed the work(read money), thinking the part of Helen Lawson would be a change from what she was usually offered. However, Judy had tunnel vision and absolutely refused to see any paralels to herself and the character of Neeley (she had also read INSIDE DAISY CLOVER and saw none there either). Sadly, DOLLS was a disastrous attempt for her and she left Hollywood for one more try at the Palace.

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 10:58 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

I was in Judy Garland's suite at the St. Regis (she was in New York for Liza's wedding to Peter Allen)

If ever I meet you, I shall bow deeply to you and ask if maybe you saved for posterity some of the oxygen that was in the room.

big grin

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 10:59 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

At least I got to see POSEIDON ADVENTURE- THE MUSICAL!

This, too, sounds like a scream. I'm sorry I missed it.

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

How I wish I could've seen that LA stage production.

Drag queen Jackie Beat sang the Helen Lawson song. Live! and did a great job, while fighting off a hanging glass sculpture. What a trooper!

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Panavision70   (Member)

I've often wondered what would have happened if another director, such as George Cukor or Vicente Minnelli, had done the film. Since Susann's book is based on real people and events, a serious inside showbiz film could have been made. But Fox was clearly after the quick buck to made from putting a hot title on screen as soon as possible. And, as one of the first major studio films to present nudity and swear words, it really fails to use those elements well. It's like a third grader who has just discovered the f-word.

It gets so many details wrong. Just one example is Helen Lawson's big song "I'll Plant My Own Tree." It's staged like a guest spot on a 1960s variety show. It's supposed to be in a Broadway show. The song is written like climatic character defining moment to end act one of the musical. They should have Lawson in some sort of period costume, say the 1930s, to suggest this from play with a story of some kind. Also, there should have a specific set and chorus people in the backround. Lawson may not want anybody else to have song in her show, but I'm sure she would want a bunch of silent chorus people behind her in half light looking on adoringly. I mean, she wouldn't have had everybody fired from the show.

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 4:13 PM   
 By:   Overtones   (Member)

It would have been interesting to see how Minnelli would have handled the fictionalized version of himself, 'Ted Casablanca'.

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 6:22 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Lawson may not want anybody else to have song in her show, but I'm sure she would want a bunch of silent chorus people behind her in half light looking on adoringly. I mean, she wouldn't have had everybody fired from the show.

"There's only ONE star in a Helen Lawson show, and that's HELEN LAWSON!"

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2009 - 6:43 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

Here I've been giving Williams credit for my favorite thing about the music, the orchestrations!

 
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