Valley of the Dolls (1967)

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Released 7-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 118:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mark Robson
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Patty Duke
Barbara Parkins
Sharon Tate
Case ?
RPI $31.95 Music Andre Previn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Swedish
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Valley Of The Dolls is a film adaptation of the best selling sizzling novel by Jacqueline Susann. The book itself caused a bit of a stir when it was first released, as it was partly based on her own experiences in the entertainment industry and there were a lot of tongues wagging about which character was based on which real life celebrity.

    The story itself is simple, although the characters themselves do not lead simple lives. At its core are three beautiful women, each with her own special talents, and how they became friends, their love lives, and their battles with "dolls" (a euphemism for sleeping pills, or more generally prescribed medication) - hence the film's title.

    Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins) hails from the small town of Lawrenceville, and is your average well-bred New England girl with grace and class moving to New York City looking for a bit of excitement. She finds it one day by landing a job with a law firm specializing in the entertainment industry. Her new boss is the impossibly handsome and debonair Lyon Burke (Paul Burke) who is also a notorious playboy who cannot settle down with just one woman.

    Anne meets a rising new singer and actress called Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke) and a beautiful model called Jennifer North (Sharon Tate). The three women become friends and successful in their professional careers, but soon they all face difficulties in their personal lives.

    Anne by accident becomes a super model, the face of a cosmetic company. However, her relationship with Lyon seems to go nowhere.

    Neely soon becomes famous as a singer and actress, but her marriage is on the rocks and she has become addicted to "dolls" of all types.

    Jennifer marries singer Tony Polar (Tony Scotti), only to find out that he has a debilitating disease. Soon she is forced to do soft core films in France to raise money for her husband's medical treatment.

    Will Anne and Lyon ever marry? Will Neely be able to break off her doll-taking habit? Will Jennifer ever regain her dignity?

    By the end of the film, we have some answers, but we also realise some people will never change, and for others it is too late ...

    I've actually read the book, and the film is reasonably faithful to it, with the usual simplifications and slight alterations in plot details. Jacqueline herself did a cameo role in the film, as the reporter trying to interview Anne Wells (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) after the suicide of Jennifer North.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    First of all, the bad news. Although the transfer is 2.30:1, which is pretty close to the intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the transfer is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Now that I've got you all upset and indignant, I have to point out that the transfer is not too shabby. The film source (a 35mm anamorphic print) is relatively clean, and grain is well within acceptable levels.

    Although detail levels are softer than a 16x9 enhanced transfer, they are acceptable for a letterboxed transfer. Colour saturation is ever-so-slightly faded and on the brownish side, but still quite acceptable, especially given the film's age.

    I did not notice any compression artefacts.

    There are a number of subtitle tracks available: English for the Hearing Impaired, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, German Titling, Italian Titling, and Spanish Titling. Dialogue transcription accuracy for the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track seemed to be about average, with some Foley effects being transcribed.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in Chapter 10 at 67:36 during a scene change, so hopefully should not be noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are a number of audio tracks on the disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    I was expecting the soundtrack to be in mono, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover not only is it in stereo, but there is some usage of surround channels when Dolby Pro Logic II is engaged (mainly for background music).

    Although the audio quality is acceptable, and dialogue reasonably clear/synchronized, the soundtrack sounded a bit overly compressed to me, resulting in a flattening of dynamics and a slightly harsh sound (in comparison to my memory of how the soundtrack sounded like when I watched the film on Foxtel).

    The original music score is by André Previn and sounds rather sentimentally lush. The theme song is sung by Dionne Warwick according to the opening titles.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is static, but curiously 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I can't find any reference to this title in R1 so I suspect it has yet to be released there.

Summary

    Valley Of The Dolls is a film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jacqueline Susann.

    The video transfer quality is acceptable, although the transfer is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The audio transfer quality is average.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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