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Trivia / Valley of the Dolls

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  • Creator Backlash:
    • Original screenwriter Harlan Ellison had his name removed from the credits because he vehemently disagreed with the tacked-on "happy" ending that the studio insisted upon inserting.
    • Sharon Tate wasn't keen on either the book or the finished film.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Jacqueline Susann hated the film and called it "a piece of shit".
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Mark Robson had a very combative relationship with all his actresses, particularly singling out Sharon Tate for his harsh treatment. Patty Duke hated working with him and, years later, after his death, still called him "a mean son of a bitch".
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    • When Judy Garland was still on the film, Mark Robson had her call time as 8 in the morning but would not film her scenes until 4 - according to Patty Duke - knowing that it would annoy her.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Almost. Judy Garland would have played Helen Lawson - the only character who didn't take pills and had a dislike of it.
  • Life Imitates Art: The "sleep cure" Jennifer undergoes in the book (being anesthetized for a week in order to drastically lose weight) was purely fiction when the book was published, and the dangerous conditions involved made it impossible to carry out in real life. (Neely also loses weight in a similar way, taking "dolls" to sleep whenever she gets too hungry) Then the Sleeping Beauty Diet appeared, with users taking sleeping pills whenever they had an appetite to "sleep the pounds off," which is also considered dangerous by professionals.note 
  • Non-Singing Voice:
    • Patty Duke saw the role of Neely O'Hara as the most dynamic in the script, allowing her to act, sing and dance. When she learned that despite her preparations her vocals were dubbed for the film, she was furious.
    • Margaret Whiting dubbed Susan Hayward for "I'll Plant My Own Tree". It is sung by soundalike Eileen Wilson on the soundtrack, as Margaret was under contract to a different label than 20th.
  • Old Shame: Patty Duke considered the film to be this for herself, as it was a near Star-Derailing Role for the actress. Also, audiences couldn't see her in such a dramatically different role from her usual Girl Next Door persona (namely, as the star of The Patty Duke Show). Averted with Barbara Parkins and Lee Grant, who have embraced the movie's So Bad, It's Good charm and Cult Classic following.
  • The Other Marty: Judy Garland had already recorded the song "I'll Plant My Own Tree" before she left the film.
  • Playing Against Type: Patty Duke took the role of Neely O'Hara as an opportunity to transition into more adult roles in film.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Patty Duke had been addicted to pills herself, as her guardians had made her take them in her child star days.
    • Sharon Tate often struggled with being seen as just a pretty face instead of her talent, like her character Jennifer.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: The book opens in a heatwave at the end of World War II, while the film opens in a snowfall. This is because producers were in a rush to get the film made and didn't want to wait for the warmer weather.
  • Star-Making Role: This proved to be a big break for Sharon Tate even though she wasn't at all keen on the book or the resulting film.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Write What You Know: The novel and its movie adaptation are loosely based on novelist Jacqueline Susann's experience as an actress from the late 1930s to the late 1950s.


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