1970 *** 109 mins.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls begins with a disclaimer, saying that this is not a sequel to the sensational film/book Valley of the Dolls. Jacqueline Susann, the author of the original book, had been offered the chance to script an actual sequel, but the studio was unhappy with the results. So, they went off and did their own thing, adding the disclaimer to make Susann happy, or at least quiet. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is an intriguing film from the outset, but once caught up in watching it, it gets rather dull rather quickly. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is an odd instance where a grindhouse filmmaker, who normally made sleazy sex films, was given the reins of a major studio picture. Although the film is relatively tame by today's standards, it still got stamped with an X rating, and is even today rated NC-17. Director Russ Meyer said that if he had known the film would still be rated X, despite his relatively reserved filmmaking efforts, he would have just gone all out and been more explicit. What makes the film really intriguing, though, is that it was scripted by a young Roger Ebert. Yes...that Roger Ebert. As it is, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls plays as more of a spoof or parody of Valley of the Dolls, taking the same themes of young women's rise to stardom and subsequent downfalls, and turning them on their heads. It doesn't always work, and a lot of the film seems to go on forever, but it's curiosity element makes it a one-of-a-kind motion picture experience.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision)