Thursday, June 15, 2006

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls


I spent some quality time with the new Beyond the Valley of the Dolls DVD. It's an excellent set. The movie has never looked better. The colors are splendid. The widescreen transfer allows a lot more of the visual jokes and drama to show then previous tape transfers had.

It really is a brilliant film. I'd forgotten just how much so. I suspect it wouldn't even have an easy challenger as the best Russ Meyer movie if it hadn't been editing with the "R" rating in mind. It's too bad Fox didn't allow him to go back and cut in more nudity after learning it was saddled with an "X" anyway...

Not that it matters to the quality of the movie. The maddeningly complex story, the wildly quotable lines, the magnificently over-the-top performances, the groovy Rock & Roll tunes, the awkward and yet oddly insightful satire of the times and on overcooked melodrama like the original Valley of the Dolls, the hyperkinetic editing, etc. are all in place and are all the reasons one should see the movie.

The commentary by screenwriter Roger Ebert is amusing, he offers a cute note about the fashion models being more buxom than real fashion models and plenty more, and offers plenty of insight about the movie itself, about Meyer's life and their relationship. The featurettes on disk 2 are funny, charming and loving by nearly all the original participants.

Fox has done a fantastic job showing off this feature that was long a black sheep in their catalog. If you've not seen it, then do yourself a huge favor. If you've seen it, this is a perfect chance to fall in love again or give it a chance to work its magic with the proper look and sound.

Also, here is Once more into the valley that Roger Ebert wrote for Film Comment on the 10th anniversary.

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