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Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was made while Fox was being sued by Jacqueline Susann, who contended that the film version of Valley of the Dolls had damaged her reputation.The suit did not go to trial until after Susann's death in September 1974.Because Meyer always discussed their roles and the film so seriously, they did not want to unintentionally insult him by asking, so they broached the question to Ebert, instead.Meyer's intention was to have the actors perform the material in a straightforward manner, saying "If the actors perform as if they know they have funny lines, it won't work." Ebert described the resulting tone as "curious".Ashley soon tires of his conventional nature and inability to perform sexually due to increasing drug and alcohol intake.Harris descends further into heavy drug and alcohol use, leading to a fistfight with Lance and a drug-addled one-night stand with Casey which results in pregnancy.An epilogue follows, with a preachy, satirical, voice-over monologue and scenes of Kelly and Harris (now in crutches) hiking on a log over a creek, and a final scene with the courthouse wedding of three couples—Kelly and Harris, Pet and Emerson, and Susan and Baxter—with Porter observing from outside the courthouse window.Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was originally intended as a straightforward sequel to the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls.
Harris is able to move his feet, the start of his recovery from paralysis.
Their fairy-tale romance frays when Pet sleeps with Randy Black, a violent prize fighter who beats up Emerson and tries to run him down with a car.
Susan Lake is reunited with her former fiancé Baxter Wolfe.
Three young women—Kelly Mac Namara, Casey Anderson, and Petronella "Pet" Danforth—perform in a rock band, The Kelly Affair, managed by Harris Allsworth, Kelly's boyfriend.
The four travel to Los Angeles to find Kelly's estranged aunt, Susan Lake, heiress to a family fortune.
I think of it as an essay on our generic expectations.