Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Russ Meyer

  • 1970
  • USA
  • Drama / Comedy
  • 1h49mn
  • Original version with French subtitles
  • Color
Three ingenuous young women go to Hollywood with their friend Harris to promote their rock band and have a good time. They will discover a world of temptations, debauchery, sex and drugs.
Co-written with critic Roger Ebert, who disavowed the film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is both a summit and a step aside in Russ Meyer’s career. Two years after Vixen, for his first major studio commission, he turns the project for a follow-up to The Valley of the Dolls into an outrageous satire that announces Verhoeven’s Showgirls, veering into a schizos haunted by the murder of Sharon Tate. Despite its box office success, Fox was scandalized: it's one of only two X-rated films made by the studio. Meyer tackles all genres, comedy, melodrama, horror... and his directing is as inventive, exuberant and flamboyant as the editing.

Cosey Fanni Tutti

I have a framed signed photograph from Russ Meyer in my studio so it goes without saying (but I will) that I am a fan of his films. He has a unique take and handling of the subjects he chooses and is shamelessly self indulgent about his penchant for sex, nudity, and especially big breasted women, who tend to look like glamour models from the 1950s. In this cult classic he seems to take any opportunity to showcase the female form. The background to the making of the film explains some of its craziness and parody of cliche after cliche, especially the ‘hip’ language. Although at the beginning of the film there’s a disclaimer about it having nothing to do with the original Valley of The Dolls movie it has distinct links. Namely the pitfalls, sex and drug fuelled dramas and dangers of show business which ultimately turned into grim reality when Sharon Tate, who starred in Valley of The Dolls became one of the victims of the notorious Manson Murders. As in Valley of the Dolls the aspirations of three women, this time of a three girl rock band seeking success ends up in disaster. I’m always amused by how film directors portray ‘bands’ in films because they always get it so wrong. And here Meyer’s parody of that misrepresentation is both perfect and hilarious. With such a big studio funding the film Meyer throws everything into the mix, creating a whirlpool of soft porn, transvestism, comedy and violence, ultimately ending in murder. The film starts off crazy and gets crazier, the pace of insanity escalating into a frenzy with one of my favourite stand out scenes of the band’s new manager Ronnie (Z-Man) in psychopathic killing mode running topless along the beach dressed as 'super woman'. At the very end a voiceover warns against certain indulgences and misbehaviours shown in the film, suggesting that after all, the film has been some sort of morality tale. Whatever anyones interpretation it’s a great, fun, hugely satirical snapshot of America in the late 1960s / early 1970s.


13/09 • 21h45 • Screen 300
Screening presented by Cosey Fanni Tutti



  • With : Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, John Lazar, Michael Blodgett
  • Screenplay : Roger Ebert, Russ Meyer
  • Photography : Fred J. Koenekamp
  • Editing : Dann Cahn, Dick Wormell
  • Music by : Stu Phillips
  • Production : Red Hershon, Eve Meyer, Russ Meyer