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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka ' Hollywood Vixens')

Directed by Russ Meyer
USA 1970

 

This film is a sequel in name only to Valley of the Dolls (1967). An all-girl rock band goes to Hollywood to make it big. There they find success, but luckily for us, they sink into a cesspool of decadence. This film has a sleeping woman performing on a gun which is in her mouth. It has women posing as men. It has lesbian sex scenes. It is also written by Roger Ebert, who had become friends with Russ Meyer after writing favorable reviews of several of his films.

****

Given that this film is directed by Russ Meyer, you should know more or less what to expect A sequel of sorts to Fox's surprising earlier hit, it follows much the same lines: Three busty pop singers looking for stardom come to Hollywood with a transsexual manager in tow. All the typical stereotypes are there and Meyer adds his usual flamboyant touches. Although he has been criticized for demeaning and exploiting women, there can be no doubt that it is the females that are in charge here with the male characters washed out and pathetic by comparison.

The script was written by one half of the most famous pair of film critics in America, Roger Ebert. This is perhaps akin to Barry Norman having penned the script to a Carry On film in his early career. Of course the script is more or less forgotten as Meyer assaults us with gaudy, rowdy visuals.

Excerpt by Neil Chue Hong review taken from EUFS Programme 1997-98 located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 17th, 1970

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox (2-disc)  - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  LEFT

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

Re-released on Blu-ray from Arrow, individually, - September 2016:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #836 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:48:56 1:48:56.678 1:49:20.595
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 43,234,169,234 bytes

Feature Size: 34,384,623,168 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Disc Size: 48,437,613,111 bytes

Feature Size: 24,595,931,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.79 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Arrow Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Mono) , DUBs: French (Mono) 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, (SDH), None English, (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by screenwriter and film critic Roger Ebert
• Commentary by cast members Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John La Zar and Erica Gavin
"• Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy" documentary
• "Look on up at the Bottom: The Music of Dolls" featurette
• "The Best of Beyond" featurette
• "Sex, Drugs, Music and Murder: Signs of the Times, Baby!" featurette
• "Casey and Roxanne: The Love Scene" featurette
• Actor screen tests
• 6 photo galleries

DVD Release Date: June 13th, 2006

Double Slim Light Blue Keep Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

Disc Size: 43,234,169,234 bytes

Feature Size: 34,384,623,168 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:
• Two commentaries on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls by co-screenwriter Roger Ebert and actors Erica Gavin, John LaZar, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page and Dolly Read
• Introduction to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls by John LaZar (1:27)
• Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy (30:03)
• Look On Up at the Bottom, with composer Stu Phillips and three members of the Carrie Nations discussing the film's music (11:00)
• The Best of Beyond, favourite moments selected by cast and crew members (12:23)
Sex, Drugs, Music & Murder: Signs of the Time, Baby!, a look at the late 1960s culture that spawned Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (7:36)
• Casey & Roxanne: The Love Scene, discussed by participants Erica Gavin and Cynthia Myers (4:21)
• Screen tests for Michael Blodgett, Cynthia Myers, •Harrison Page, Marcia McBroom (7:36)
• High Definition photo galleries
• Multiple trailers (4:46)
• Reversible sleeve featuring two original artworks
• Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger

• This special edition also includes the rarely-seen The Seven Minutes (1971), Russ Meyer's Hollywood swansong, an adaptation of Irving Wallace's polemical novel about the absurdities of American obscenity laws.

• Limited to 3,000 releases
 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 18th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

Disc Size: 48,437,613,111 bytes

Feature Size: 24,595,931,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 25.79 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary from 2003 featuring screenwriter Roger Ebert
• Audio commentary from 2006 featuring actors Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John LaZar, and Erica Gavin
• New interview with filmmaker John Waters (29:43)
• Episode from 1988 of The Incredibly Strange Film Show on director Russ Meyer (38:19)
• Q&A about the film from 1992 featuring Meyer, Ebert, LaZar, and Read; and actors David Gurian, Charles Napier, Michael Blodgett, and Edy Williams, with host Michael Dare (49:21)
• Interview with cast members from 2005
Above, Beneath, and Beyond the Valley; Look On Up at the Bottom; The Best of Beyond; Sex, Drugs, Music & Murder; and Casey & Roxanne, five documentaries from 2006 (10:58, 7:34, 12:21, 4:19, 8:16)  about the making of the film, featuring the cast and crew (30:01)
• Screen tests (7:29)
• Trailers

Blu-ray Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 13

 

 

 

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 16': The Criterion looks noticeably brighter than the Arrow Blu-ray of earlier in the year. It's less technically robust than the Arrow - by quite a lot (almost 10 mbps) - and, while I don't know which is more theatrically accurate - I might lean to the darker - but, frankly, both looks excellent in-motion. I only compared 8 sets of captures as the difference is fairly evident.

The audio sounds exactly the same to my ear and we can repeat the comments for the Arrow below - Criterion also go linear PCM in original mono at 1152 kbps (24-bit). It sounds solid - authentically, very flat. There are a few effects for the lossless to export but the real usage comes from the soundtrack by Stu Phillips (TV work like The Monkees and The Six Million Dollar Man) wrote much of the music with Bob Stone - like In The Long Run, Look Up At The Bottom, Beyond The Days Of Now And Then, Come With The Gentle People, Sweet Talkin' Candy Man and there are a couple of Paul Marshall pieces performed by The Strawberry Alarm Clock - and of course The Carrie Nations (formerly The Kelly Affair) - see extra - Look On Up at the Bottom - for more. It sounds pretty cool and buoyant in the uncompressed and there are optional English (SDH) subtitles on Criterion's region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

As with the other releases Criterion stack the supplements whihc include the audio commentary from 2003 featuring screenwriter Roger Ebert and the second from 2006 featuring actors Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John LaZar, and Erica Gavin (as found on both earlier digital releases compared). Criterion do add a new 1/2 hour interview with filmmaker John Waters where he discusses director Russ Meyer, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and his own work - recorded by Criterion in April 2016. Also added in a 40-minute episode from 1988 of The Incredibly Strange Film Show on director Russ Meyer and a lengthy Q&A about the film from 1992 featuring Meyer, Ebert, LaZar, and Read; and actors David Gurian, Charles Napier, Michael Blodgett, and Edy Williams, with host Michael Dare. There are the previously seen interviews with cast members from 2005 in the 5 featurettes documentaries - Above, Beneath, and Beyond the Valley; Look On Up at the Bottom; The Best of Beyond; Sex, Drugs, Music & Murder; and Casey & Roxanne, as well as screen tests and trailers.

Impressively stacked package with some new supplements and region 'A' fans should be pleased. Still endless fun - recommended!

***

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (January 2016): Arrow give us another dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. I doubt it can look any better in 1080P. It's generally brighter, sharper, colors are richer and there may be a smidgeon more information in the frame. It looks exceptional in-motion - slightly dark at times - a lot of eye candy and plenty of quick cuts augment the film's highly visuals expression. The source is super clean and the HD transfer really has no flaws I can determine.  

Arrow go linear PCM in original mono at 1152 kbps (24-bit). It sounds solid - authentically, very flat. There are a few effects for the lossless to export but the real usage comes from the soundtrack by Stu Phillips (TV work like The Monkees and The Six Million Dollar Man) wrote much of the music with Bob Stone - like In The Long Run, Look Up At The Bottom, Beyond The Days Of Now And Then, Come With The Gentle People, Sweet Talkin' Candy Man and there are a couple of Paul Marshall pieces performed by The Strawberry Alarm Clock - and of course The Carrie Nations (formerly The Kelly Affair) - see extra - Look On Up at the Bottom - for more. It sounds pretty cool and buoyant in the uncompressed and there are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Arrow add a few supplements of their own and duplicate all of the two-disc 2006 DVD features including the two commentaries by Beyond the Valley of the Dolls co-screenwriter Roger Ebert and a second by actors Erica Gavin, John LaZar, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page and Dolly Read, the 30-minute featurette; Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley: The Making of a Musical-Horror-Sex-Comedy, the 11-minute Look On Up at the Bottom, with composer Stu Phillips and three members of the Carrie Nations discussing the film's music, the dozen minute The Best of Beyond featuring favorite moments selected by cast and crew members, the 7.5 minute Sex, Drugs, Music & Murder: Signs of the Time, Baby!, a look at the late 1960s culture that spawned Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and they 5-minute piece entitled Casey & Roxanne: The Love Scene, discussed by participants Erica Gavin and Cynthia Myers. The screen tests and galleries are also still here plus Arrow add multiple trailers, the John LaZar intro (I don't recall on the SD), the package includes a reversible sleeve featuring two original artworks as well as a booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger. This special edition also includes the rarely-seen The Seven Minutes (1971) on DVD, Russ Meyer's Hollywood swansong, an adaptation of Irving Wallace's polemical novel about the absurdities of American obscenity laws. It is limited to 3,000 copies.

The film experience, is akin to other Meyer films in which he compels you to be infected by his curious brand of visuals including gratuitous female sexuality. It is not great cinema, nor even good, but I think it has its place for curious and nostalgic viewing. Arrow's created another beautiful Blu-ray package - one that I wouldn't be surprised goes out of print. Not everyone's cup-of-tea but it, nonetheless, it has a devoted fanbase. Recommended to that niche!

***

ON THE DVD (June 2006): Exceptionally strong transfer from Fox on this cult classic from 1970. Detail is excellent, colors are fairly vivid, black levels and contrast are pristine. Audio is clear and the subtitles well appointed. There are two commentaries - one highly notable by Roger Ebert (the screenwriter) and a separate on by cast members. Ebert's is excellent giving all the desired details of production and his reverence for Meyer himself. I only listened to about 1/3 of the second commentary and it was a bit sporadic and less formal. Some people may find it quite direct but I'd be lying if I said it held my attention.  More honesty - I did not wade through all these extensive extra features on disc 2. John La Zar talks about Meyer's style as a director and in Look On Up At The Bottom: The Music Of The Dolls, Roger Ebert talks further about production foibles and misrepresentations from the original ideal. All that I watched was quite well made - there appeared to be no filler here. The supplements are well thought out and contain extensive information on the film and especially Meyer. Fans will undoubtedly be quite sated.

Certainly the DVD is absolute perfection and for the price - possibly the deal of the year - shame it wasn't for a better received film.  

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


Disc 2

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 


1) 20th Century Fox (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

More Arrow Blu-ray Captures

 

 


Box Cover

   

Re-released on Blu-ray from Arrow, individually, - September 2016:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #836 - Region 'A' Blu-ray




 

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