Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970)

To call this one of “the best bad films I’ve seen” would probably be grossly inappropriate on my part, and grossly unfair to Russ Meyer, who three films into his filmography by now I realize was certainly shlocky and exploitative, but that’s certainly not enough evidence to call his films “bad”, but rather merely far, far separated from accepted convention. Obviously I don’t claim to be an expert on the late 60s/early 70s underground Hollywood scene, and thus my claim that the “lack of realism” of the increasingly bizarre situations that these girls find themselves in, and the dialogue in general, particularly from the Shakespeare/hipster-spewing Z-Man, is little more than a leap of faith on my part. That it all came from the mind of Roger Ebert, who I can’t help but look at as that nerdy film critic from Illinois, tempts me to believe that this compilation of depravity and a sex-starved/obsessed culture was penned by a clear outsider, someone whose knowledge of the seediness of Hollywood is confined to pulpy fiction rather than actual experiences and based his screenplay on such, for which reason the “lack of realism” comes shining through from the opening moments. But hey, the whole thing is about the outsider status of Kelly, Casey, and Petronella, and how these innocent girls are caught in the whirlpool of sex, drugs, and REALLY clever, pulpy, and downright poetic conversations – a bizarre place and time from the point of view of uninitiated outsiders becoming inured to and corrupted by that bizarre place and time, so perhaps seeing that bizarre place and time from the point of view of a seemingly uninitiated nerdy film critic from Illinois is appropriate.

Or it’s just an incredibly clever satire.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: