RIP Roger Ebert – A Scene From Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

The film world lost one of the best known critics when Roger Ebert passed away at 70 after struggling with Cancer. When I was a kid, I always watched Sneak Previews especially for the sometimes intense exchanges between Ebert and Gene Siskel (who passed away in 1999) and for the infamous “Dog of the Week” which to movie mutants like me meant “See This Movie!” in a warped view of cinema while still watching classic films.

Agree or disagree with his views, his impact was felt with both highly intelligent writing (His reviews are all compiled on-line, and seriously worth a visit…set aside everything to dive in!) and stinging reviews of films that are among the best and most informative criticisms.

To me, my favorite chapter of his life, naturally, is his writing for Russ Meyer, especially for the incredible and entertaining Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. With this film in his history, Ebert knew first hand about contributing to a film that was controversial for the time right in the middle of an era where things were changing by the second and the major studios were dabbling in the world of X-Rated films (Still is NC-17 by the MPAA).

For Beyond the Valley of the Dolls alone (although he continued to write for Meyer, most notably Up!), Roger Ebert provided a major contribution to Film. There are more reasons, but I feel that it’s time to focus on a classic that captured a time and place both in the Film and in the Production History.

The Commentary on the DVD of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls by Ebert is a highly recommended listen.

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~ by screen13 on April 5, 2013.

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