Trash-movie fans are in heaven this week.
One of the all-time bad movies, "Valley of the Dolls," a 1967 soap starring Patty Duke, Sharon Tate and Barbara Parkins, came out on home video Wednesday (FoxVideo, $20). This film is down there with famed stinkers such as 1966's "The Oscar," with Steven Boyd, and 1970's "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart," which stars Don Johnson.
And released with "Valley" was the 1970 sequel, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," also on FoxVideo at $20. X-rated when it came out in theaters, its rating is now the equivalent NC-17.
The legions of trash-movie fans--or anyone who relishes big Hollywood clunkers--will get a kick out of these. "Valley of the Dolls" is an insider's look at the evils of fame, with Duke playing the vicious star drugged-out on "dolls" (pills), while Parkins plays the disillusioned top model. The script is a monumental collection of show-biz cliches--which seem even sillier because of the horrendous acting and the tacky soundtrack.
The sequel, which has little to do with the original, is even worse. It's about the trials of a female rock band, played by untalented unknowns--Marcia McBroom, Dolly Read and Cynthia Myers. The director, soft-core porn king Russ Meyer, was more famous than the cast. But what makes this a treasure is that Meyer wrote the script with a young film critic named Roger Ebert--who has never lived it down.
The movies first came out on video in the early 1980s, in the days when a few thousand copies was a major shipment. Since nearly all those copies have vanished from the market, FoxVideo has been under pressure from fans for years to bring them out again.
Karen Edwards, FoxVideo's marketing vice president, offered one example of the unusual demand for "Valley of the Dolls": "A retailer in the Valley sent us a petition for the release of the movie that had 2,000 names on it," she reported. "They were all real names too.
"Also we have an 800 number for people to call to ask about our titles. Every month there were requests for 'Valley of the Dolls.' "
The demand for the sequel wasn't quite as strong, Edwards conceded. "It has cult appeal too--but a different kind, because it's a racy, X-rated movie that not as many people have seen. The original does have a broader audience. But people who like one probably will like the other."
The big Barney brigade will be happy to hear that "Barney Rhymes With Mother Goose," the latest in the incredibly successful kidvid series about the lovable dinosaur, comes out Wednesday, from the Lyons Group at $14. . . . For college hoops fans, CBS-Fox has just released a speedily assembled video about North Carolina's March triumph in the NCAA tournament--"The March of the Tarheels"--priced at $20. . . . An audio and visually beefed-up version of the sci-fi classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" is due June 30 (MGM/UA, $20) to commemorate its 25th anniversary. Available in both letterboxed and pan-and-scan versions, it includes the original theatrical trailer.
What's New on Video:
"Glengarry Glen Ross" (LIVE, $95). The real star here is the lyrical dialogue by David Mamet, who adapted his 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play to the screen. It's about a crew of desperate real-estate salesmen (Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin) who are fighting to keep their jobs as their company ruthlessly cuts the payroll. Fueled by fine performances, it's fairly gripping but relentlessly grim.
"A River Runs Through It" (Columbia TriStar, no set price). Set in Montana in the 1920s, the movie focuses on two brothers (Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer) and their dominating father (Tom Skerritt), who are in many ways emotionally unconnected except when they're fly fishing. It's beautifully shot and littered with subtle pleasures, but the movie is basically a very slow, sentimental character study without much plot.
"Aspen Extreme" (Hollywood, $95). The adventures--from romance to drug addiction--of two likable Detroit buddies (Peter Berg and Paul Gross) who migrate to Aspen to become ski instructors. Often implausible with some jolting mood swings but, for ski enthusiasts, it's worth seeing for the stunning skiing sequences.
"Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth" (Paramount, no set price). A vicious, hellish monster named Pinhead (Doug Bradley) goes on a murderous rampage. For devotees of the gore genre, it's a must-see--as grisly as they get. It's available in both R and unrated versions.
"A Letter to Three Wives" (FoxVideo, 1949, $20). One of the best movies of its era and a must-see for fans of old movies. The story begins with a letter from a vindictive woman informing three wives (Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain and Ann Sothern) that she's stolen one of their husbands. These women react by examining their marriages, through flashbacks. The letter-writer is heard (the voice of Celeste Holm) but never seen. Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Oscars for direction and his script.
Just announced for release are three movies featuring some of this year's Oscar nominees--MCA/Universal's "Lorenzo's Oil," with Susan Sarandon (July 14); Warner's "Malcolm X," starring Denzel Washington (July 21) and Orion's "Love Field," with Michelle Pfeiffer (July 21). New Line's "Teenage Mutant Turtles III" is due July 14.
Also: "Toys," "Hoffa," "Used People" (Wednesday); "Howards End" (June 2); "Forever Young" (June 9); "Body of Evidence," "Damage" and "The Lover" (June 16); and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (June 23); "A Few Good Men," "Leap of Faith" and "Matinee" (June 30), "Unforgiven," "The Crying Game" (July 7) "The Bodyguard" (July 14); "Home Alone 2" (July 27).