This Is Not A Sequel. There Has Never Been Anything Like It!
A hip and happenin' all girl rock group head to LA to claim lead-singer Kelly's inheritance and make it (and make it) in LA. Soon the girls fall into a morass of drugs and deceit as their recording success soars. It takes several tragedies to make them stop and think... but is it too late?
ActorsStarring: Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, John Lazar, Michael Blodgett, David Gurian, Edy Williams, Erica Gavin, Phyllis Davis, Harrison Page, Duncan McLeod, James Iglehart, Charles Napier, Princess Livingston, Stan Ross, Lavelle Roby, Haji, Karen Smith, Sebastian Brook, Coleman Francis, Pam Grier, Russ Meyer, Garth Pillsbury
After the huge success of director Russ Meyer’s VIXEN!, 20th Century-Fox knew that he was a talent to reckon with and hired him for a two-picture deal in 1970. His first film (his only good studio film) was written by Roger Ebert and was titled as a sequel to Fox’s VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, an embarrassment to the studio. When this was released, it was almost as big an embarrassment. But it’s an awesome film with something to please everyone. While not as sex-filled as Meyer’s earlier and later works, it still works as a spoof, a drama, and an adults film.
Dolly Read, Cynthia Meyers, and Marcia McBroom play Kelly, Casey, and Pet, an all-female rock group called The Kelly Affair that start out small and make it big in Hollywood as The Carrie Nations. The story is filled with soap opera contrivances, such as various love affairs, lesbianism, drug addiction, suicide attempts, and money scandals. While some of these instances can be seen as serious drama (these girls can act, believe it or not), most of them are played to be campy, complete with cheesy soap-opera organ music in the background.
BVD is filled with little surprises: FASTER PUSSYCAT’s Haji makes a cameo in two scenes; women-in-prison movie regular Phyllis Davis plays nice Aunt Susan, Kelly’s rich relative; Meyer regular Charles Napier plays Aunt Susan’s fiancee; VIXEN! star Erica Gavin plays the lesbian dress designer Roxanne; John Lazar (later in SUPERVIXENS) steals the show as Z-Man, the psychotic gay manager who speaks in Shakespearean prose and goes crazy at the end, pretending he’s Superwoman!; VIXEN! co-stars Michael Blodgett and Harrison Page play Lance, the money-hungry hunk, and Emerson, the black law student; sex starlet Edy Williams is luscious as Ashley St. Ives, famed pornographic movie star; and recurring character Martin Bormann makes another appearance. Pam Grier’s supposed to be here, too, but I couldn’t ID her in the big crowded party scenes. But I think my favorite thing about BVD is the musical soundtrack. Fabulous performances by The Carrie Nations make me wish a soundtrack CD was readily available! While there were 2 good songs in VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, BVD has around 9! The Strawberry Alarm Clock appears performing “Incense and Peppermints” and a non-hit at a Hollywood party, too.
While BVD is not as unintentionally hilarious as the original VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, I liked it a lot better. The performances are great by all (how does Meyer get such great-looking women who can act to boot?!), the music fabulous, and the pace of the film is brisk and doesn’t sag. The one sequence that went on forever was the lesbian sequence between Erica Gavin and Cynthia Meyers, which was unerotic and just dumb. I don’t know how this got an NC-17 rating (there isn’t very much sex). BVD is highly recommended to anyone making their first dive into the cinema of Russ Meyer or anyone who was ever in a rock band that wanted to make it. Pure fun, all 112 minutes of it!