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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

A still from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

1970 | United States | 109 min
  • Watched on Sun Sep 26, 2021 via Criterion Channel
    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    A satirized Valley of the Dolls. The story follows an all-girl rock-and-roll trio and their manager, who head to Los Angeles. There, they succumb to fame, sex, drugs, and murder.

    Director Russ Meyer threads a fine tonal seam between detached camp and earnest embarrassment. The result plays as a cautionary fable that proves ridiculous yet compelling. John Lazar’s performance as a charismatic, Shakespear-quoting music mogul stands out.

    The same measured tone applies to the violence. It’s bloody and gruesome, yet never mean-spirited or off-putting.

    Most of all, I appreciated the film’s willingness to eviscerate both sides of the generation gap. A critical reveal proves timely, demonstrating how the “enlightened” flower children weren’t ready to accept all types of people.

    This film also marks Pam Grier’s first credited feature. It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance and, I admit, I missed it. But I’m eager to re-watch this with commentary by screenwriter Roger Ebert.

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