Posted at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Sarah the college freshwoman returned from school with a copy of "The Valley of the Dolls" in her travel bag, grabbed as reading material for the way home.
It was just a matter of days before a DVD copy of the Barbara Parkins/Patty Duke/ Sharon Tate film adaptation was in the house and we were all watching it.
And afterwards we all wondered why...
The film is disjointed, nonsensical, and over-the-top, although nowhere as scandalous as it clearly believes itself to be. It's a reflection of the times, being made as it was just as the antiquated Hollywood production code was crumbling.
Yet the code's influence was still strong enough to tame the adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel about three young women trying to make it big in show business. In the book they find that it's a world replete with hypocrisy, back-stabbing and amphetamines. The straightforward telling of the novel just becomes hints in the movie.
The story is allegedly based in part on the story of Judy Garland. She had a part in the film until her own pill-popping led to her losing the role. She was replaced by Susan Hayward as the aging star deposed by the up and coming Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke.)
In this weekend of the opening of "Sex and the City" on the big screen, it's hard not to hear echoes of the excitement about Valley of the Dolls. But will we still be watching SATC in 40 years time?