Valley of the Dolls

Synopsis: Anne Welles, a bright, brash young New England college grad leaves her Peyton Place-ish small town and heads for Broadway, where she hopes to find an exciting job and sophisticated men. During her misadventures in Manhattan and, later, Hollywood, she shares experiences with two other young hopefuls: Jennifer North, a statuesque, Monroe-ish actress who wants to be accepted as a human being, but is regarded as a sex object by all the men she meets, and Neely O'Hara, a talented young actress who's accused of using devious means by a great older star (Helen Lawson) to reach the top, pulling an "All About Eve"-type deception in order to steal a good role away from her.
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Director(s): Mark Robson
Production: 20th Century Fox
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

You've got to climb Mount Everest...

... to reach the Valley of the Dolls.

It's a brutal climb to reach that peak.

You stand there, waiting for the rush

of exhilaration, but it doesn't come.

You're alone.

And the feeling of loneliness

is overpowering.

I never meant to start that climb.

I took the first step when I left

New England and headed for New York.

It wasn't easy to leave

that wonderful house.

My grandparents lived there

and theirs before them.

It was standing during the Revolution.

George Washington didn't sleep there,

but he did dip water from our well.

I can still see them

standing there waving.

Aunt Amy, Mama and Willie.

Poor Willie. He didn't know

I was leaving his life forever.

I'll never forget the night I told them

I was going to New York.

They said it was a dreadful place

for a vacation.

I announced I was going to work there.

Willie took it well.

He said he'd give me a month...

... and I'd run for home

ready to settle down in Lawrenceville.

I remember the day Willie pinned me.

He said it meant

we were engaged to be engaged.

I wanted a marriage like Mom and Dad's,

but not yet.

First I wanted new experiences,

new faces, new surroundings.

Lawrenceville would be there forever.

The cab driver kept complaining

about the sleet and slush.

I told him he should see

one of our New England blizzards.

He took me to the

Martha Washington Hotel for women.

Aunt Amy had stayed there.

She said it was as safe as you

could be in a city like New York.

The desk clerk warned me

they didn't allow men in the rooms.

I confessed I didn't know any.

Before my feet were dry,

the agency sent me on an interview.

I had butterflies, but I acted like

I'd done it all my life.

At least I thought I did.

I knew it. She had that look.

- I'm to see Miss Steinberg.

I knew she was pregnant.

Certainly I should have kept an eye

on her, doctor, but she sneaks out.

I haven't any idea who the father is.

It could have been one of several.

All right. I'll start her

on vitamins tomorrow.

Queeny's pregnant again.

My Siamese.

I hope it isn't that beat-up black tom

with the one eye.

A black Siamese should be very pretty.

I'm Anne Welles.

Oh, yes. The agency phoned about you.

B.A. At Radcliffe? Mr. Bellamy will like

that. He'll think it gives the office tone.

- The agency said he's a lawyer.

- A theatrical lawyer.

He handles actors, writers

and directors. Important ones.

He advises them and draws up

their contracts. No loopholes.

- Sounds fascinating.

- It isn't.

- Will I work for Bellamy or Bellows?

- There is no Mr. Bellows anymore.

Only his nephew, Lyon Burke.

You can tell when he's in the office... the girls around that water cooler.

- How's your shorthand?

- Weak, but I type 60 words a minute.

Okay, I'll take you in to see the boss.

Mr. Bellamy, this is Miss Welles.

She's here about the job.

- She's too good-looking.

- Mr. Bellamy, that's not fair.

I'll just get her broken in

and she'll get married.

- I'm already engaged.

- There, see?

Lots of secretaries are married,

aren't they?

Not in this office. Some days

you'll work until midnight...

...having dinner with me and a client.

I'll drink too much...

...and won't remember a word. You'll

have one sherry and remember it all.

- I have a good memory and love sherry.

- Can you handle it?

- I'm sure I can.

- Could she start right away?

- Stop running my life. I'm not convinced.

- Couldn't you please give me a trial?

All right. I'll try you out for one week,

starting as of now.

Here. Take these contracts to Helen

Lawson at the rehearsal hall on 44th.

Take a cab. See that she signs them.

- Let's see if she can handle that.

- I'll be right back.

And don't give her that "I loved

you when I was a little girl" routine...

...or she'll stab you in the back.

Helen Lawson?

Mr. Bellamy, that was wicked.

Twelve bucks an hour for 80 people,

are you kidding? Come on.

Excuse me.

- Yeah.

- I have some contracts for Miss Lawson.

- Go down the hall and turn left.

First dressing room on the right.

If you're a Capricorn, watch your step.

Yeah, Harry, it's a good company.

Come on.

- Why? Why? Why!

- That's it.

- Five, six, seven, eight.

One, two, three, four,

five, six, seven, eight.

Two, two, three, four, five, six,

seven, eight. One, two...

You're sorry?

No good.

Lousy. A beast.


What kind of a press agent are you?

Why did they send me some green kid

fresh out of NYU?

- Who in hell are you?

- I'm Anne Welles. And I...

Look, I'm tired and I'm busy.

What do you want?

Mr. Bellamy sent some contracts

for you to sign.

You, out.

Come on.

Give me a fountain pen.

And not one of those lousy ballpoints.

Come on.

Sit down. You're making me nervous.

That girl who is singing out there,

she's very good, isn't she?


How do you think the kid's song works

in the new spot? Great, huh?

The song goes.

- What?

- You heard me, the song goes.

- And the kid with it.

- Come on, Neely O'Hara can't hurt you.

You bet your ass she can't.

Because she isn't gonna get the chance.

The only hit that comes out of

my show is Helen Lawson.

And that's me, baby, remember?

- She has a run-of-the-play contract.

- I know about run-of-the-play contracts.

This won't help you in the business.

Right. Nor you, either.

So get Bellamy to do it.

He knows how. He's done it before.

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Helen Deutsch

Helen Deutsch (21 March 1906 – 15 March 1992) was an American screenwriter, journalist and songwriter. Deutsch was born in New York City and graduated from Barnard College. She began her career by managing the Provincetown Players. She then wrote theatre reviews for the New York Herald-Tribune and the New York Times as well as working in the press department of the Theatre Guild. Her first screenplay was for The Seventh Cross (1944). She adapted Enid Bagnold's novel, National Velvet into a screenplay which became a famous film (1944) starring Elizabeth Taylor. After writing a few films (Golden Earrings (1947), The Loves of Carmen (1948) and Shockproof (1949) ) for Paramount and Columbia Pictures, she spent the greater part of her career working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and wrote the screenplays for such films as King Solomon's Mines (1950), Kim (1950), It's a Big Country (1951), Plymouth Adventure (1952), Lili (1953), Flame and the Flesh (1954), The Glass Slipper (1955), I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), Forever, Darling (1956) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Her last screenplay was for 20th Century Fox's Valley of the Dolls (1967). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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