Valley of the Dolls (1967)

123 mins | Melodrama | 15 December 1967

Full page view
HISTORY

On 13 Oct 1965, Var announced that Twentieth Century-Fox story editor David Brown had paid more than $100,000 for film rights to Jacqueline Susann’s second novel, Valley of the Dolls, prior to its scheduled publication in 1966. A 25 Oct 1966 LAT article estimated that the purchase price was closer to $200,000, as the controversial book went on to become a bestseller, with sales exceeding 250,000 copies to date.
       In several interviews, including the 19 Feb 1967 LAT, Susann revealed that she had no desire to participate in the writing or casting of the film, claiming she would struggle to maintain the necessary objectivity to adapt her own work for the screen. With David Weisbart already committed to produce, a 16 Feb 1966 DV item stated that Fred Zinnemann was rumored to direct a screenplay by Harlan Ellison. Fox president Richard Zanuck hoped capitalize on the book’s success by beginning production before the end of the year, but scripting delays greatly stalled development. By the time the 1 Sep 1966 LAT announced the involvement of director Mark Robson, Ellison had since been replaced by Helen Deutsch, who told the press that she anticipated running into “problems” translating the source material’s racy “dialog and situations.” A few months later, the 7 Dec 1966 DV reported that Deutsch had “completed her assignment,” with the remainder of the work to be finished by Dorothy Kingsley.
       Meanwhile, Weisbart and Robson began scouting locations and interviewing actors in New York City. Several DV items published from fall of 1966 to spring of 1967 named many prominent actresses ... More Less

On 13 Oct 1965, Var announced that Twentieth Century-Fox story editor David Brown had paid more than $100,000 for film rights to Jacqueline Susann’s second novel, Valley of the Dolls, prior to its scheduled publication in 1966. A 25 Oct 1966 LAT article estimated that the purchase price was closer to $200,000, as the controversial book went on to become a bestseller, with sales exceeding 250,000 copies to date.
       In several interviews, including the 19 Feb 1967 LAT, Susann revealed that she had no desire to participate in the writing or casting of the film, claiming she would struggle to maintain the necessary objectivity to adapt her own work for the screen. With David Weisbart already committed to produce, a 16 Feb 1966 DV item stated that Fred Zinnemann was rumored to direct a screenplay by Harlan Ellison. Fox president Richard Zanuck hoped capitalize on the book’s success by beginning production before the end of the year, but scripting delays greatly stalled development. By the time the 1 Sep 1966 LAT announced the involvement of director Mark Robson, Ellison had since been replaced by Helen Deutsch, who told the press that she anticipated running into “problems” translating the source material’s racy “dialog and situations.” A few months later, the 7 Dec 1966 DV reported that Deutsch had “completed her assignment,” with the remainder of the work to be finished by Dorothy Kingsley.
       Meanwhile, Weisbart and Robson began scouting locations and interviewing actors in New York City. Several DV items published from fall of 1966 to spring of 1967 named many prominent actresses who were in consideration to play the three young leads, as well as the role of aging Broadway singer “Helen Lawson,” including: Ann-Margret, Barbara Harris, Sue Lyon, Barbara Bouchet, Joy Wilkerson, Carol Wayne, Judith Lowry, and Ginger Rogers. Candice Bergen and Raquel Welch (who was under contract to Fox at the time), were both attached to the project for several weeks, but dropped out shortly before production. Robert Redford and Stewart Moss were reportedly approached for some of the male roles, while the 18 Feb 1967 LAT indicated that Valley of the Dolls marked the motion picture debut of former University of Maryland football player Tony Scotti. Various contemporary sources noted that Gail Anne Stone, Dorothy Neumann, Darryl Wells, and orchestra leader Manny Newman appeared in the film, but they are not credited onscreen.
       Although Barbara Parkins and Patty Duke were committed to star, the remainder of the casting process continued well after production began on 17 Feb 1967. The 2 Mar 1967 NYT announced that Judy Garland had won the role of Helen Lawson, for which the 3 May 1967 Var said she would have earned $100,000. On 28 Apr 1967, however, DV reported that Garland had left the project for “personal reasons” after having already recorded at least one musical number. A modern news story covering the auction of several documents from the Twentieth Century-Fox studio archives reveals that Garland was terminated for frequently showing up to set intoxicated. She was replaced by Susan Hayward, who, according to the 29 May 1967 DV, completed her scenes in just four days. The 18 Aug 1967 edition confirmed that Heyward’s vocals were dubbed by Margaret Whiting, who is credited for the song, “I’ll Plant My Own Tree.”
       According to a 1 Mar 1967 Var item, filming was completed on locations in New England and New York City, and seventy-eight interior sets constructed in Los Angeles, CA. The 6 Mar 1967 DV stated that a sequence featuring Patty Duke was shot at that year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, with Duke’s close-ups later completed at the studio. The 21 May 1967 LAT also noted that shooting took place outside the Santa Monica Courthouse. During the final weeks of principal photography, the 10 May 1967 Var claimed that Barbara Parkins split her time between Valley of the Dolls and her role as a series regular on the primetime soap opera, Peyton Place (ABC, 15 Sep 1964—2 Jun 1969). Parkins was scheduled to return to Peyton Place full time on 18 May 1967.
       Shortly after Robson and Weisbart began post-production, the 22 Jul 1967 LAT reported that Weisbart died of a stroke at the Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles. A 25 Aug 1967 DV brief stated that scoring sessions were scheduled for 14-15 Sep 1967 with conductor John Williams, who is credited as “Johnny Williams.”
       Due to the novel’s ongoing popularity, the 30 Aug 1967 Var announced that Fox had partnered with publishing company Bantam Books to launch a promotional campaign that would continue up until the film’s release. Additionally, various sources reported that costume designer William Travilla (credited onscreen only by his surname) had created a women’s fashion line inspired by the 130 pieces featured in the film. Original garments and their wholesale counterparts were to be modeled or displayed at department stores and fundraisers around the country.
       According to the 15 Dec 1967 NYT, Valley of the Dolls opened at the Criterion, Broadway at 45th Street, and Festival Theatres. A 20 Nov 1967 LAT brief announced that the Los Angeles engagement would follow on 20 Dec 1967 at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. By 17 Feb 1968, NYT reported that the film was playing on 750 screens, with Fox anticipating domestic rentals to reach $25 million. The 12 Mar 1969 Var listed a gross of $20 million to date, making it Fox’s top-earning picture of 1968.
       Its success pushed Dionne Warwick’s rendition of “(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls” to second place on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1968, and the soundtrack earned an Academy Award nomination for Music (Scoring of music—adaptation or treatment).
       In 1970, Fox released a sequel, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (see entry), which was followed by a 1981 CBS television remake, Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. According to a 16 Mar 2012 HR article, Fox retained video rights to the property until 1994, when New World Entertainment produced a late-night soap opera that ran in syndication for sixty-five episodes. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Feb 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
29 May 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Aug 1967
p. 4.
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1967
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 2012.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Nov 1965
Section D, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
1 Sep 1966
Section D, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1966
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
18 Feb 1967
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1967
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
19 Feb 1967
Section P, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
20 Mar 1967
Section D, p. 27.
Los Angeles Times
5 May 1967
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
11 May 1967
Section D, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1967
Section D, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1967
Section D, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 May 1967
Section WS, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jul 1967
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
15 Oct 1967
Section J, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1967
Section D, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 1967
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
2 Mar 1968
p. 18.
New York Times
17 Feb 1966
p. 40.
New York Times
2 Mar 1967
p. 31.
New York Times
26 Aug 1967
Section FS, p. 16.
New York Times
15 Dec 1967
p. 59.
New York Times
16 Dec 1967
p. 51.
New York Times
17 Feb 1968
p. 33.
Variety
13 Oct 1965
p. 80.
Variety
22 Feb 1967
p. 24.
Variety
1 Mar 1967
p. 7.
Variety
3 May 1967
p. 3.
Variety
10 May 1967
p. 48.
Variety
30 Aug 1967
p. 70.
Variety
20 Sep 1967
p. 17.
Variety
12 Mar 1969.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Mark Robson-David Weisbart Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Miss Parkins' hairstyles
Hairstyles supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (New York, 1966).
SONGS
"Theme from Valley of the Dolls," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Dionne Warwick
"Give a Little More" and "It's Impossible," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Patty Duke
"Come Live With Me," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Tony Scotti
+
SONGS
"Theme from Valley of the Dolls," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Dionne Warwick
"Give a Little More" and "It's Impossible," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Patty Duke
"Come Live With Me," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Tony Scotti
"I'll Plant My Own Tree," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Previn, sung by Margaret Whiting.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 December 1967
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 December 1967
Los Angeles opening: 20 December 1967
Production Date:
began 17 February 1967
Copyright Claimant:
Red Lion Productions
Copyright Date:
15 December 1967
Copyright Number:
LP35182
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
123
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

New Englander Anne Welles arrives in New York City and accepts a secretarial job with a leading theatrical law firm. On her first day, she is present at a Broadway rehearsal when hard-boiled musical comedy star Helen Lawson discharges a talented newcomer, Neely O'Hara, because she threatens to steal the show. Lyon Burke, an associate in the law firm, gets Neely a spot on a TV show that leads to stardom in Hollywood. At the same time beautiful but untalented Jennifer North falls in love with nightclub singer Tony Polar and marries him despite the objections of his sister, Miriam. Eventually Anne and Lyon quarrel over his refusal to marry; Lyon quits the law firm to resume his writing; and Anne appears in a series of TV commercials. As time passes, Neely finds herself incapable of adjusting to fame: two unsuccessful marriages (to press agent Mel Anderson and costume designer Ted Casablanca) have led to both alcoholism and drug addiction. Neely is persuaded to enter the same sanitarium where Tony is dying of an incurable disease. Jennifer, who has been paying Tony's bills by making nudist films in Europe, learns she has breast cancer and commits suicide. After Anne and Lyon have reconciled their differences and then broken up again, Neely gets the chance for a comeback on Broadway; but she is still emotionally incapable of facing an audience. Too drunk to go on, she collapses in the theater alley after her understudy has scored an opening night triumph. By now Anne is back at her New England home. One day Lyon pays her a visit and pleads with her to marry him. Anne can only kiss him affectionately ... +


New Englander Anne Welles arrives in New York City and accepts a secretarial job with a leading theatrical law firm. On her first day, she is present at a Broadway rehearsal when hard-boiled musical comedy star Helen Lawson discharges a talented newcomer, Neely O'Hara, because she threatens to steal the show. Lyon Burke, an associate in the law firm, gets Neely a spot on a TV show that leads to stardom in Hollywood. At the same time beautiful but untalented Jennifer North falls in love with nightclub singer Tony Polar and marries him despite the objections of his sister, Miriam. Eventually Anne and Lyon quarrel over his refusal to marry; Lyon quits the law firm to resume his writing; and Anne appears in a series of TV commercials. As time passes, Neely finds herself incapable of adjusting to fame: two unsuccessful marriages (to press agent Mel Anderson and costume designer Ted Casablanca) have led to both alcoholism and drug addiction. Neely is persuaded to enter the same sanitarium where Tony is dying of an incurable disease. Jennifer, who has been paying Tony's bills by making nudist films in Europe, learns she has breast cancer and commits suicide. After Anne and Lyon have reconciled their differences and then broken up again, Neely gets the chance for a comeback on Broadway; but she is still emotionally incapable of facing an audience. Too drunk to go on, she collapses in the theater alley after her understudy has scored an opening night triumph. By now Anne is back at her New England home. One day Lyon pays her a visit and pleads with her to marry him. Anne can only kiss him affectionately and reject his offer. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.