Sep 162016

Although uneven in its tone (as it deviates from effective to cheesy drama), I enjoyed Valley of the Dolls particularly for the performances from Barbara Parkins and, especially, Sharon Tate. The writing isn’t the best and I’d actually welcome some sort of modern remake or even a mini-series



Valley of the Dolls
— The Criterion Collection —


Genre(s): Drama
Criterion Collection | PG13 – 123 min. – $39.95 | September 27, 2016

Date Published: 09/16/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Mark Robson
Writer(s): Jacqueline Susann (novel); Helen Deutsch and Dorothy Kingsley (screenplay)
Cast: Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Sharon Tate, Tony Scotti, Susan Hayward
Commentary, Featurettes, Screen Tests, TV Spots, Theatrical Trailer
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 3.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 46.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 3.5/5

Plot Synopsis: Cutthroat careerism, wild sex, and fierce female protagonists are all on offer in this adaptation based on the sensational and wildly popular novel. Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, and Sharon Tate star as three friends attempting to navigate the glamorous, pressurized world of big-time show business—the “valley” is not a place by a narcotized state of mind, and the “dolls”” are the pills that rouse them in the morning and knock them out at night.

Valley of the Dolls was a soapy-esque drama released in 1967 and based on a best-selling novel of the same name by Jacqueline Susann. It’s an uneven flick with both good and over-the-top performances, at times I was enthralled with the dramatic elements and yet whenever we get to Patty Duke’s scenes, it becomes a tad laughable, especially her final appearance. However, for me, the highlight and best of the storylines involved Sharon Tate’s Jennifer North had a more emotional impact compared with the other two.

The biggest issue, beyond Duke’s uneven performance, is the screenplay. Now, I don’t know how the movie lines up with the book but there were scenes in which North describes seeing her institutionalized husband but we don’t get to see what would’ve been a dramatic moment but we only get a line before the character, following a disappointing phone conversation with her mother, takes a dramatic step and one of the more gut-punches in the film.

Meanwhile, Barbara Parkins turns in a nice performance as well with a character that, by comparison, is the more adjusted of the trio and she has a great arc from a beginning leaving a serious boyfriend in a small town to travel to New York, find a modeling career in Los Angeles, falling in love with a man who doesn’t want to commit before going back home in which she finds her independence. Like Take, Parkins has some well acted scenes.

In the end, Valley of the Dolls, which not perfect and certainly could’ve used another pass at the screenplay and a more consistent tone, has a lot of things going for it and while at this time it might not rank very high on my list, there’s enough there to find it to be an admirable 1960s drama.



This release comes with a very nice 30-page essay booklet with production stills.

Audio Commentary – Actor Barbara Parkins and journalist Ted Casablance that was recorded in 2006.

Hollywood Backstories: Valley of the Dolls (25:06; 1080i) is an episode from 2001 and features archival interviews about the success of the adaptation in spite of a critical onslaught.

Trailers and TV Spots (4:53; 1080i)

Radio Spots (19:54; 1080p) is a series of three spots, they include interviews with Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Martin Milner, and Susan Haywardl composer Andre Previn; and producer David Weisbart

Interviews (TRT 29:26; 1080p) – There are two sets of interviews, one with writer Amy Fine Collins discussing author Jacqueline Susann and the other has Collins talking about costume designer Travilla’s work on the film.

Under Archival Programs we get A World Premiere Voyage (48:12; 1080i), a promotional film from 1967 featuring members of the cast and crew on the maiden voyage of the SS Princess Italia as it travels from Italy to California; Jacqueline Susann and Valley of the Dolls (50:31; 1080i) which is another promotional film that explores the best-selling novel and charts its path to becoming a motion picture; and Sparkle Patty Sparkle! (16:29; 1080i), a 2009 tribute to actress Patty Duke.

Screen Tests (28:06; 1080i) with Patty Duke, Tony Scotti, Sharon Tate, and Barbara Parkins.

Doll Parts (17:11; 1080p) is a visual essay written and narrated by film critic Kim Morgan.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Valley of the Dolls comes to Blu-ray courtesy of The Criterion Collection and is shown in its original 2.40 aspect ratio and is a new digital transfer culled from a 2K resolution from a new 35mm interpositive made from the 35 mm original camera negative. Based on watching the movie, there didn’t appear to be major instances of artifacts or other flaws so some nice restoration work was done giving this nearly 50 year old film vivacious colors and nice detail throughout.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

Like the picture, the audio got some work done as well. The DTS-HD Master Audio 3.0 track was remastered from the 35 mm six-track magnetic print master that came with the 70 mm release. There were no discernible pops or hisses and instead dialogue levels sounded nice and clear.


OVERALL – 4.0/5

Overall, although uneven in its tone (as it deviates from effective to cheesy drama), I enjoyed Valley of the Dolls particularly for the performances from Barbara Parkins and, especially, Sharon Tate. The writing isn’t the best and I’d actually welcome some sort of modern remake or even a mini-series, however it is undeniably entertaining. The Blu-ray released through Criterion offers great video and solid audio transfers and a nice set of bonus material.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>