Notes from My Father’s Review of BVD, 1970


So, following the release of the spiffy, two-disc, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls DVD, I was reminiscing about my parents' reaction to the film. Now, first some background: Mom and Dad have never been hip and have never pretended to be hip. My parents have always lived in an irony-free zone, so any enjoyment of Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls book (and film) was utterly straightforward.  I love them dearly, but their critical acumen — especially when dealing with popular culture — has never been particularly sharp.

Anyway. Like everyone else in North America at the time, they read (and watched) Valley of the Dolls. And then… this:

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls poster

Now, I was 14 at the time and an avid Playboy reader (no comment), and I certainly knew about director Russ Meyer. So when my parents returned home from the cinema — I was babysitting my younger brother at the time — their violently negative reaction struck me as somewhat ill-placed. I mean, what the hell were they expecting? Could they be that ridiculously naïve, that they thought it would be a Jackie Susann-style extension of the original? Anyway, highlights from my father's review, with a startling clarity of memory:

  • "sick minds made this movie"
  • "a disgusting waste of time and money"
  • "queers and lesbians doing stupid things"
  • "it's like they didn't even try!"
  • "filled with drugs and stupid parties"
  • "you call that noise 'music'?"
  • "bloody beheadings and other stupid violence"
  • "it had nothing to do with the original!"
  • "stupid"
  • "dumb acid trip ending in the murder of stupid hippie-weirdos"
  • "ugh!'
  • "nothing but bad dialog and bad acting"
  • "I don't need to see crap like that…  no one needs to see crap like that!"
  • "there should be a law against movies like this!"

So, basically, every one of his comments could be used in the promotional materials for the DVD reissue.

3 Responses to “Notes from My Father’s Review of BVD, 1970”

  1. 1 lisa

    lol. Well your father sounds pretty sharp to me. Was your mother was in the room? Sleeping on the couch changes a married man’s 😉

  2. 2 bstewart23

    Oh, yeah, Mom was there and, credit-where-credit-is-due, the "ugh!" was her contribution to the critical fusillade. Now, keep in mind, this is the same woman who went to see Training Day but was sorely disappointed because "that Denzel is such a dignified performer, and a family man, and I just don't understand why he would be in something with so much cussing."

  3. 3 Sars

    It was your dad’s happening, AND IT FREAKED HIM OUT!

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

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