Pure trash, based on a trashy book, filled to the brim with trashy performances, now becoming a trashy cult film. Based on Jacqueline Susann's novel detailing the horrors of stardom (the author has a bit part as a journalist, which she has trouble pulling off), the film stars Tate, Parkins, and Duke as three aspiring actresses who each attain a degree of...read more
Pure trash, based on a trashy book, filled to the brim with trashy performances, now becoming a trashy cult film. Based on Jacqueline Susann's novel detailing the horrors of stardom (the author has a bit part as a journalist, which she has trouble pulling off), the film stars Tate,
Parkins, and Duke as three aspiring actresses who each attain a degree of success followed by a dependence on pills (nicknamed "dolls"). Tate, who is told by everyone she meets that she has no talent but a great body, meets and marries a young singer, Scotti, who soon is stricken with a fatal
illness requiring expensive hospitalization. To pay the bills, Tate appears in European porno films and becomes quite a sensation. Unfortunately, she soon discovers she has breast cancer and needs to have her "talent" removed. Realizing there is no future in porno after such surgery, Tate kills
herself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
Duke, meanwhile, (who turns in the worst performance of the three, only because she is capable of so much more) lands a minor part in a new Broadway show opposite aging superstar Hayward (who replaced the originally cast Judy Garland, a dropout despite the perquisites proffered by the studio,
including the dressing-room pool table she had demanded). The ambitious newcomer makes herself such a nuisance that she soon finds herself out of a job. As luck would have it, Duke winds up doing a quick singing spot on a national television fundraiser and becomes a superstar overnight (oh, sure).
Of course, her sudden success leads to a horrible drug addiction that eventually turns her into a pathetic, whining has-been who should commit suicide to end the audience's suffering. Unfortunately, she doesn't.
Not all success stories are grim, however, as we follow the likable Parkins from her small East Coast town to New York where she hits it big as a model. This, once again, leads to a bout with the ever-present pills and an unstable love life, but Parkins eventually finds the inner strength to
abandon her success and hightail it back to her hometown before she winds up as just another tragic statistic. Banal, ignorant, crass and just plain lousy, this film went on to gross over $20 million, becoming one of 20th Century-Fox's biggest hits ever and reaffirming the belief that the public
deserves what it gets.
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