Valley of the Dolls Screen 79 of 6 reviews

Valley of the Dolls

1967

Valley of the Dolls Poster
  • A critical (although not commercial) bomb on release, Valley of the Dolls rose from the ashes to become a so-bad-it’s-good cult film of the highest order. But today, in the face of a mainstream American media culture simultaneously Trumpian and Kardashian in nature, there’s a real sense of tragedy in the hyperactive, kinetic glitz of Robson’s film.

  • As helmed by Mark Robson, whose Peyton Place was something like the rural trial run for this film's sleekly urban take on similar sins, Valley of the Dolls applied the best, albeit increasingly creakiest, Hollywood machinery to deliver the tell-all story of what damage the industry can wreak on its brightest stars.

  • It’s not unreasonable to feel emotional when art or trash or anything in between tugs at your heart, but with Dolls it felt out of body. Musical. Like the way the that mad genius, Dory Previn and her Dolls-penned songs, hang over the movie like a lost little girl/woman spirit, fresh from the loony bin unafraid of warbling her fear and pain to the world. A beautiful, hilarious, bitter and almost embarrassing madness.

  • Sharon Tate’s work in Dolls is its most intelligent, and searching, acting. Her woodenness in the early sections of the film is quite transparently a presentation of Jennifer’s forcing herself to please the men who constantly drool all over her décolletage.

  • Robson appears to be a hack (tenuous assertion based solely on this, The Seventh Victim, and the immortally titled PHFFFT), but of the genially competent, Ron Howard variety; give him passable material and he'll at least hold your attention. Executing hairpin tonal shifts, however, clearly wasn't his forte, and he loses control of the movie when everything starts going to hell.

  • Too dull even to function as camp.

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