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March 1, 2023

Publicity Shots of Sharon Tate, Barbara Parkins and Patty Duke for ‘Valley of the Dolls’ (1967)

Based on Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel Valley of the Dolls, it follows three women struggling to forge careers in the entertainment industry, each of them descending into barbiturate addiction—“dolls” being a slang term for depressant pills or "downers".

The beauty, style, colorful sets, unbelievable clothes, gorgeous women, striking 1960s visuals. This is how Valley of the Dolls pulls off a ridiculous soap-opera script, a simple-minded direction and superficial characters for whom we don’t grow to care about in the slightest despite the film lasting for what would seem to be a million hours. If it tries to get us involved, it doesn’t. However it does camouflage pills and mean spirits with sophistication — which it does brilliantly.

The screenwriters create something that is a bit of everything we are dying to mock. It’s a soap opera and French soft porn, it’s complicated in its simplicity, it’s a fall from grace, despite never having any grace at all, it’s loud and vulgar while softly batting its eyelashes, it’s rude while in the classiest of outfits yet it’s not so bad it’s good; it’s just good in a different way. And while half the world may not understand the film the other half loves it. It’s become a cult classic. So simply Valley of the Dolls offends the brain, yes, but really pleases the eyes.


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