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VALLEY OF THE DOLLS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Sharon Tate, Martin Milner, Charles Drake, Alex Davion, Lee Grant
Director: Mark Robson
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Extra Features: See Review
Length: 123 Minutes
Release Date: June 13, 2006

"Anne honey, let's face it...all I know how to do is take off my clothes!"

Film ***

Look out, Barbie...these dolls are here to give you a run for your money, and believe me when I say, they might just turn your dream house upside down!

Take one small town girl longing to see the world, one starlet dreaming of her day in the spotlight, and a beautiful showgirl, mix them in a New York blender and you've got a powder keg of potential self destruction that will be hard to top.  That is exactly what happens to these dolls as their proverbial ship comes in and they head for the bright lights, and big parties of Hollywood! 

Written at a time when Hollywood was quickly building on its reputation for excess and debauchery, Valley Of The Dolls, does a wonderful job of showing how high we can rise, and how easy it is to fall once we get there.

This movie has been a Hollywood legend since the day it hit the big screen.  At a time when Doctor Doolittle and Camelot graced the big screen, Valley Of The Dolls put the spotlight on Hollywood's pill popping dark side and made you sit up and take notice of what was really going on, in the city of Angels.

I never had the opportunity to view this movie until receiving it on DVD.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoyed the film itself, as well as it's soundtrack. 

The first person I recognized in this film was Patti Duke.  I have an aunt that reminds me of Patti Duke.  She's feisty, with red hair, and a tongue that will slice you in half if you get in her way. 

While researching the actors from this film, I came upon some very disturbing information.  I was not aware that Sharon Tate the actress who played the part of sexy vixen Jennifer North Polar (Yeah, bad porn names make me giggle too) was viciously murdered in 1969 by members of the Manson family.

This put a definite damper on my viewing experience.  However, after reading about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Ms. Tate's demise, I chose to honor her memory by rewatching her scenes from this film again.

Valley Of The Dolls is definitely a cult classic, and you can tell a lot of time and attention were spent bringing this film into the digital age.  There are two discs for your viewing pleasure.  Disc 1 contains the movie and some extra features, while disc 2 is nothing but extra's.

This movie would definitely benefit from a group treatment.  So get your friends together and take these dolls for a spin around your DVD player.  After all, these lovely ladies deserve to get off the Merry Go Round every once in a while! 

Video ***

Transferring this print to 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and giving it a good cleaning was just the facelift this movie needed to get high marks on my scale.  Colors were vivid, and the print was remarkably clean for its age.

Audio ***

The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround was surprisingly nice considering the age of the soundtrack, and the technology available at that time. I really enjoyed the songs, and music from this movie.  I had a blast singing along with the Karaoke feature available on disc 2.  

Features ****

Disc 1

Commentary by actress Barbara Parkins, and E's very own Ted Casablanca is an absolute HOOT to listen too while watching this film.

"Trivia Overdose: A Pill Popping Guide To Valley Of The Dolls" is pop-up video style trivia that provides you with little known facts about the movie as you go along.

"Gotta Get Off This Merry Go Round: Sex, Dolls, and Showtunes" documentary...need I say more?!

Still Galleries let's you examine photographs of the main characters from this film.  Take a moment and flip through and enjoy photos of these beautiful people. 

Disc 2

"The Divine Ms. Susann", "The Dish On Dolls", and "Hollywood Backstories: Valley Of The Dolls" are three featurettes to tempt your inner vixen.

"From The Medicine Chest: A Secret Stash Of Archival Footage" gives you more eye candy, and allows you to see what ended up on the cutting room floor!

"You've Got Talent Karaoke" let's you sing along with songs from the movie.  Just follow the bouncing ball and you can't go wrong baby!

"Musical Numbers" lets you enjoy those moment's from the movie where song and dance ruled the screen!

Summary:

Plenty of extra features, and a very nice Anamorphic treatment make this double disc trip to the Valley a totally groovy adventure!  Grab these dolls, and play dress off for a while!

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