Based on the bestselling novel by Jacqueline Susann and directed by erstwhile Val Lewton collaborator Mark Robson, the original Valley of the Dolls centers on three aspiring starlets, all familiar types—a virginal small-town girl (Barbara Parkins), a fame-corrupted singer (Patty Duke, in her first major adult role), and an ill-fated beauty (the ill-fated Sharon Tate). Released at the end of 1967, it went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the following year. That it was also an instant museum piece is evidenced by the emergence just three years later of Russ Meyer’s horror-comedy parody Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which trades Broadway for Hollywood, booze and pills for the psychedelic ’60s, and Robson’s relatively staid visuals for Meyer’s splashy colors and groovy editing. Beyond is also notable as the first screenwriting effort of film critic Roger Ebert, who’s on hand for audio commentary. Both films are available on two-disc sets loaded with extras, including featurettes, screen tests, cast commentaries, and much more.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 20, 2006