The Film Score Freak Recognizes: Jacqueline Susann’s two tawdry tales-

Valley of the Dolls (1967) & Once is Not Enough (1975)

When you think of lurid melodrama you think of the gloriously gaudy, flashy & trashy Jacqueline Susann! I’ve been sort of in the mood to watch my guilty pleasure filled with flaming divas, drugs, tragic love, screaming in an alley and walking away with your head held high! Valley of the Dolls works as an exposé of three aspiring beauties who each in their own way are catapulted to stardom, but ultimately pay a price…

Considered a film to walk away from in shame, it was the Gay community who resurrected this showy gem and delivered it to cult status!

Valley of the Dolls (1967) directed by Mark Robson and stars the enigmatic raven beauty Barbara Parkins (who suggested Warwick to sing the tearjerker of a theme song), Patty Duke whose performance as Neely O’Hara is a tour de force, Sharon Tate whose tragic fate is eerily played out in her role as Jennifer North,  Susan Hayward and the extraordinary Lee Grant. See my interview here:  LEE GRANT INTERVIEW

I can’t help getting that exquisite punch in the gut feeling when Dionne Warwick sings the 1967 theme song by André and Dory Previn, composed for the film version of the Jacqueline Susann best-selling novel.

All I see when I hear the theme song is Anne Welles (who could only have been portrayed by Barbara Parkins who falls down the rabbit hole of ‘dolls’ and crawls back out, empowered!) her face gazing out the window of the train, envisioning a new sense of self and freedom, we’re also transported by the power and poignancy of Dionne Warwick’s immortal voice. “Gotta get off, Gonna get. Have to get off from this ride.”

Next, another guilty pleasure of mine, is Susann’s more obscure little potboiler Once is Not Enough (1975) directed by Guy Green and screenplay by Julius J. Epstein (Casablanca 1942, Arsenic and Old Lace 1942, The Man Who Came to Dinner 1942). This sensationalist slice of cake stars Kirk Douglas, Alexis Smith, David Janssen (that’s all I need to know) George Hamilton, Greek siren Melina Mercouri, Brenda Vaccaro and Deborah Raffin as January. Filled with incestuous overtones, clandestine lesbian trysts, a May/December romance and the ambiguity of love and ownership, Once is Not Enough is like a cheap wine that still tastes pretty good.

The theme song with a melody that hauls my heart over a melancholy  mountain of emotion is written by prolific composer Henry Mancini.  Hearing it now, still gives me that shiver of nostalgia for everything wonderful about 70s overwrought romantic fiction.

January (Raffin) returns home to New York from Europe. She indulges herself in the subculture of the city and winds up falling in love with writer Tom Colt (Janssen) a jaded older man who replaces the love she feels for her father, Kirk Douglas.

Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the dolls sung by the leading light of pop & soul Dionne Warwick… scored by Andre Previn lyrics by Dory Previn

Jacqueline Susann’s Once is Not Enough score by Henry Mancini

This is your EverLovin’ Joey saying I’m Verklempt at The Last Drive In!

Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi Born October 20, 1882

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excerpt from  – the song “Juno” appears on Jo Gabriel’s album ‘The Amber Sessions’

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The song ‘Nightdigging’ appears on Jo Gabriel’s album Hunting Down the Ceremony

excerpt from – The song ‘Be My Deity’ appears on Jo Gabriel’s album The Unreachable Sky

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Here’s a cheeky mini tribute of Lugosi’s best death scenes by Robin Bailes

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Dear Bela-It’s not the cape that makes the man… you’ll always be an elegant beautiful man & the only true DRACULA… still mesmerizing us after all these years!

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Happy Birthday from your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl

 

Quote of the Day! Sweet Charity (1969) Fun, Laughs Good times!

SWEET CHARITY (1969)

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Shirley MacLaine  is Charity Hope Valentine a dance hall girl who always seems to get the short end of everything or as she puts it… the fickle finger of fate…

But she never loses faith that she will meet the right guy to take her away from her dreadful life. Based on Federico Fellini’s sublime Nights of Cabiria 1957 starring Giulietta Masina.

The lush colors and masterful photography by Robert Surtees (The Graduate 1967, The Last Picture Show 1971) create a visual kaleidoscope, surrounded by the incredible choreography by Bob Fosse who also directed the film. With memorable music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

Sweet Charity is a musical dream dressed up in Edith Head’s stunning and stand out fashions.

The film also stars the wonderful Paula Kelly as Helene, Chita Rivera as Nickie… the dance numbers are just too smokin’, and there’s a particular mod party dance sequence that is probably the closest thing for me to dropping acid… phantasmagorically chic….

Nickie (Chita Rivera) to Charity-“You know what your problem is… You run your heart like a hotel… You got guys checking in and out all the time.”

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One of the best moments of the film: Enter Sammy Davis Jr and The Rhythm of Life!

May the fickle finger of fate never find you! Your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl

The Film Score Freak recognizes: Firefly by Jo Gabriel * Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without A Face) 1960

Firefly by Jo Gabriel  from my album Fools and Orphans  & Eyes Without a Face (1960) directed by Georges Franju

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This is my song Firefly which appears on my album Fools & Orphans, featuring the upright bass of Mark Urness, originally recorded at Coney Island Studios in Madison Wisconsin by Wendy Schneider. My tribute to a hauntingly beautiful horror story!