Sunday, November 11, 2007

Valley of the Dolls


Valley of the Dolls was initially expected to be a top box office smash. It had some some decently big names like, Susan Hayward and Patti Duke, as well as newcomers Sharon Tate and Barbara Parkins. Built from Jacqueline Susann's fantastic novel, it centers around three young girls, who among the bright lights of fame, tumble and fall many times. Jacqueline Susann had a trio of elements present in most of her novels... drugs, sex and fame. Anne Welles is an elegant lady who leaves her home town for the excitement of New York and gets a job as a secretary for a law firm gauged for entertainers. A client comes in one day, spots her beauty and signs her to a modeling agency and Anne is instantly thrust into the role of Supermodel. Neely O'Hara is the little kid from nowheresville that comes along and blows Broadway right out it's socks with her incredible talent. Jennifer North is a beauty queen with a body to die for, but alas... she is totally devoid of any talent and soon learns that having a body is all you really need... as long as we get to see your body, every inch of it. All these women are friends and go through some pretty vicious ups and downs. Thank God, there are those wonderful "dolls" (pills) that wake you up, put you to sleep, ease the pain and make life a lot better, at least temporarily. This movie was made in the latter 60's and it by all means dates itself. It's incredibly campy and colorful. This movie has tons of great trivia about it. For example, the premiere of the movie took place on a ship, during a cruise. Jacqueline Susann hated the movie. Soon after it's release, Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family. Judy Garland was originally signed to the role of Helen Lawson (very appropriate casting, she pretty much WAS the character Helen Lawson (played by Susan Hayward) but left the project, due to a multitude of reasons. Judy had a drug problem, she was becoming harder and harder to deal with and would often be late or intoxicated on the set. The producers on "Valley" were becoming as displeased with her as she was with them and a mutual dismissal was agreed upon. She soon then after went on tour and did in fact take much of the wardrobe with her and was spotted during concerts wearing many of the same outfits that had to be remade for Susan Hayward.

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