Valley of the Dolls is one of my favorite movies. Being the fashion-driven girl that I am, my favorite films usually feature the best fashion trends of the time and the characters are typically stylish...but that doesn't take away from the actual film...I love Valley of the Dolls in all its glorious campiness!
|Anne Welles in all her inherent sophistication|
I am a Bostonian who moved to NYC as a young girl of 18 years to seek my fame and fortune in the big city with hopes of becoming a career girl strutting down 7th avenue in her Nine West pumps…yikes! So from the start of the film, I am immediately captured by relatability; relating to the young Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins), who leaves Massachusetts to start her life as a career girl in the big city...New York City. She unknowingly lands her first job with an entertainment law office and the rest is history! Her good looks and charm make it all too easy for her to become a part of the entertainment circle, soon becoming a fashion model. She also falls for the handsome Lyon Burke (Paul Burke) and they embark on a tumultuous relationship which sends her spiraling and reaching for that little bottle of “dolls”.
|Anne Welles sleeping all day, only waking to take another "doll"|
|The talented Neely O'Hara|
Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke) is the young, spunky, and naturally talented new kid on Broadway who comes from humble beginnings. We are first introduced to her rehearsing her first and only solo in a show starring Broadway diva Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward). Ms. Lawson, no fool to the ways and fickleness of the business has Neely’s solo cut from the show…she’s not having any young chick stealing her thunder! Neely soon bounces back from the disappointing blow and becomes a young Hollywood starlet, but with fame comes pressure and Neely soon becomes hooked on uppers and downers.
|The Hollywood starlet, an addict|
|Jennifer North, a sexy Broadway chorus girl|
Lastly we have the beautiful, buxom blonde Jennifer North (Sharon Tate) who is a chorus girl in Helen Lawson’s Broadway show and a friend of Neely’s. Jen follows Neely to Hollywood and quickly marries the Dean Martin-esque nightclub singer Tony Pilar (Tony Scotti). Tony is sent to the loony bin because he has a hereditary nervous disorder, which sends Jen to France to do “nudies” (soft core porn) to pay his medical bills. Feeling worthless and nothing more than a great pair of boobs most her life, on top of finding out she has breast cancer, Jen commits suicide by overdosing on "dolls".
|Jen in her final act|
In the end, we are left to figure out what fate Neely meets…does she OD? Does she get clean and win back her audience? Or does she become just another starlet who loses it all because she couldn’t handle it all?
And Anne Welles…well little Ms. Anne moves back to Massachusetts, and realizes she always had it all right here at home in her quaint little town of Lawrenceville. There’s no place like home!