GrogFlog's back from the hols, tanned, rested and ready. When we started this thing, sex and violence were highlighted as key themes so inevitably we'd get it on with Russ (big tits!) Meyer sooner or later. So we'll start with the first film he ever made for a major (big tits!) studio, Beyond The Valley of The Dolls for 20th Century (big tits!) Fox.
(1970. Colour. Script: Roger Ebert (yes, that Roger (small tits!) Ebert) and Russ Meyer. Direction: Russ Meyer. Cinematography: Fred J. Koenekamp. Score: Lynn Carey, Paul Marshall, Stu Phillips, Bob Stone and The Strawberry Alarm Clock. And a special shoutout to hair stylist Edith (big tits!) Lindon who went well above and beyond the call of duty on this one.)
We open on a sweet, naive girl pop group (with big tits!) from the sticks, heading for the big time in LA - only to be plunged into a maelstrom of kinky sex, bouffant hairdos, drugs, sleazy lawyers, polyester shirts, big tits! even more kinky sex, greedy flower children meeting tawdry showbiz tinsel, lesbians with big tits! acid rock, black magic and big tits! But true love (and genuine big tits! as opposed to fake ones) triumphs in the end and the gentle people live happily ever after while the baddies all die by the bullet and the sword. So much for the plot (but not the big tits!).
You cats should really dig this flick. It's a real gas man. The costumes, the hairstyles, the sets, the big tits! the art direction and the actors and other props all come across like something out of an X-rated Brady Bunch. And it's chock full o' lines like: "I'd like to strap you on sometime.", "Lance Rocke is no Prince Valiant.", "There's juice freaks, and pill freaks, and then everybody's a freak! What you need is grass or a downer or something.", "I beseech you to get thine ass in gear and garb your angry loins.", "You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance." and that old pickup line we've all used so many times "I've got a wading pool of mayonnaise!"
Not to mention yer classic scenes of loving couples (with big tits!) running through sunny meadows in slo-mo, freakout parties full of big tits! in Hollywood hot tubs, old straight guys getting stoned for the first time in hippie pads and hip photographers coaxing hot vogueing out of strategically nude models with big tits!
And Beyond is populated by characters like porn star Ashley St Ives sporting at least two sets of false eyelashes (and big tits!), the "World Boxing Champion" who seems strangely unable to afford a shirt (apparently so he can keep showing off his big tits!), a sword-wielding pop Svengali (with big sideburns!), the young Pam (big tits!) Grier already getting her foxy brown on, Martin (medium sized tits!) Bormann moonlighting as a bartender...and entering upstage right into various party scenes, a much-loved Russ Meyer regular - Charles Napier's chin, followed only a few minutes later by Charles (big jaws!) Napier himself.
But wraparound kitscharama (and big tits!) aside, Beyond the Dolls is also worth seeing 'cos Russ is actually a technically brillant flick helmer. The narrative accelerates like a '70 Corvette (with big tyres!), the cinematography is super crisp, shots are vividly lit and framed (especially when they feature big tits!) and the razor-sharp editing should be taught in film schools now. Plus some of the music still holds up pretty well in a Nuggets lost psychedelic treasures kinda way (You can really shake your big tits! to the soundtrack).
Basically, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is well beyond parody - and yet weirdly perceptive about the riffs, characters, big tits! and general vibe of swinging sixties LA crashing headlong into the whole Manson Family thing. Watching it now, it's clear some of the actors ( and their big tits!) were already about to get lost forever in the murky canyons of fin de siècle LA back then. But the flick itself is still a fucking hoot. Such is the godlike, pre-pomo genius (and big balls!) of the man that us mere mortals knew as Russ Meyer.
GrogFlog's verdict: "This is my happening, and it freaks me out!" 6 out of 10 big tits!
Viewer Tip: Watch it with subtitles enabled. There's some funny and seriously whacko lines that get lost among the overlapping party dialogue and big tits!
Coming soon: Burt Lancaster and his deadly typewriter, secret Government experiments on kids, James Coburn getting in like Freud and big tits!