Beyond the Valley of the Dolls ★★★½

Nobody makes movies like Russ Meyer. Ridicule his subject matter all you want, but the man had a vision. There is no way to mistake his work for someone else's and vice-versa. His world-view was uniquely his. Sure that world-view included women with inhumanly large breasts, but so what? So did Fellini's! If all you had to do to make it in the film business was photograph some giant cans, half the San Fernando Valley would have three-picture deals at Fox. Roger Ebert wouldn't take time off to write a movie for just anyone; and I don't care if you do Pilates, eroticism can only hold an audience's interest for a so long. So what is it that sets Russ apart from the rest? Well of course there's the precise framing and the perfectly paced editing, but more than anything there's the sense of fun. It overwhelms the entire picture. Fun is the thing that keeps viewers coming back again and again and again. It's HIS happening and it freaks US out.

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