August 5th, 2006

My new cinematic hero

Last night I saw Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for the first time, and I am officially a huge Russ Meyer fan now.

Well, okay...I was already a huge Russ Meyer fan. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Lorna, Cherry, Harry and Raquel, Common Law Cabin, and the wonderfully Lynchian Mudhoney have all been screened at the Morton-Grove theater in the last year. But seeing Russ work with the big studio money 20th Century-Fox was insane enough to dole out for Dolls made me appreciate the man's talents all over again. I think there are arguments to be made for Meyer being not only a truly feminist director (apparently I'm not the first one to suggest that, as Roger Ebert's commentary track for Dolls states), but also one of the best American comedy directors. If he was still around and making movies, I would totally be knocking on his door (after I'd significantly padded out my shirt, that is).

As usual, I think it's too bad that certain so-called "exploitation" filmmakers aren't accorded the levels of respect they deserve. I mean, c'mon...what movie would you rather see again - Faster Pussycat Kill Kill or Last Year at Marienbad?

Anyway, if you haven't yet seen Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, run don't walk to get a copy. The transfer is a very good widescreen, there are tons of supplementary materials (I haven't even gotten to disc #2 yet!), and if nothing else, you gotta love the music of The Carrie Nations, the '60s fashions, and lines like "This is my happening, and I'm freaking out!"