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My all time favorite screen actress and star of early 'Dreamland'
Production's Edith Massey had this short documentary filmed about her at the
time "Female Trouble" was being shot (circa '74)
For those who don't know Edith Massey she was the larger than life lady who brought us The Egg Lady (Pink Flamingos), Ida Nelson (Female Trouble), Queen Carlotta of Mortville (Desperate Living), Cuddles (Polyester) these were her largest screen roles and in every inch of film her loveable personality and enjoyment of what she was doing shines through.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing her speak will never forget that wonderful voice, her delivery of lines from "Egg's Egg's Egg's" (Pink Flamingos), "You stole my Gator Away" (Female Trouble), "Seize her and f**k her!" (Desperate Living) to "At first I thought he was walking his dog, then I realised it was his date" (Polyester) have such charector that she is hard to forget. Fools and simpletons have in the past poured scorn over Edith and her performances, we should feel sorry for those gimps that have closed minds.
She is obviously a wonderful person, with a great circle of friends and an often harrowing life. Edith tells us of her days as a V Girl, A madam, A matchbox seller and a Hobo .
Friends of mine who didn't even know who she was, watched the film and said it was one of the most entertaining documentary's ever made, and I have to agree. Even though it is only 15 or so minutes long, every moment is gold.
Go on revel in Edith, you won't be let down
I have always been a huge fan of Edith Massey ever since I saw her
performance in "Polyester" as the cute, clutzy Cuddles. Subsequently, I saw
"Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble" and her bizarre, unique acting style
just got better. The pinnacle of her career was undoubtedly "Desperate
Living", where she stole the movie as the bitchy Queen Carlotta! 2 years
before this, "Love Letter to Edie" was made.
A documentary short filmed in Baltimore and hosted by Edie herself, this features hilarious re-enactments of Edie's life (throwing dirty water on her wicked stepsisters, seducing drinks out of sailors in a bar, her stage show, etc.), cameos by John Waters regulars Mink Stole, Pat Moran, and Ed and Vincent Peranio, an interview with John Waters, Edie interviewed walking down the sleazy streets of Baltimore, and some nice behind-the-scenes dirt from Edie about "Pink Flamingos"! This has finally become easier to find on video, so do yourself a favor and spend 15 minutes with the most unique John Waters cast member. You can't help but fall in love with her personality before the show is through!
This review is really intended for fans of John Waters' films--in
particular, the earlier and "cheesier" movies that featured the
wonderful Edith Massey. Massey, if you are not aware of her, was an
incredibly ugly and untalented lady who was perfect in the Waters'
films--she had that creepy photogenic and campy quality that made the
pictures even better. Her mouth had only a few teeth that were mostly
crooked, she was very obese and rather old and her delivery was
terrible--and she was very funny in these wacky roles. If you aren't a
fan of these earlier films or if you haven't seen them, then perhaps
you should NOT watch this short--you probably just don't get it. Or,
perhaps you should see them now and see what all the fuss is about and
then you'll perhaps understand why she has had a cult following.
The film is a short about Edith and she narrates and talks about herself. Some of her life story sounded very fake, though many of the details turned out to be quite true. She had been a so-called "B-girl", stripper (yuck), barmaid and thrift store owner before being discovered by Waters. I couldn't find any information about whether she was really a madame or some of the other details, but it sure wouldn't surprise me if it's all true! In her own wonderfully campy style, this film is a real treat for fans, as you get to see Edith as she really was--without the whips, fishnet stockings, etc. that you have seen in her films. Plus, she seems like a kooky but very nice person. I sure wish I could have met her.
As far as the production values go, they're not particularly great. It looks and feels mostly like a high-quality home movie. But considering the films she made, this seems rather fitting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Love Letter to Edie (1975) was a weird short I watched that was an
extra feature on a laser disc of Polyester. This short is strange,
bizarre and very hilarious. Edith Massey stars as herself and talks
about her life from when she was a bar girl up (Hey Sailor) to her
career in appearing in films for John Waters. The reenactment scenes of
her in her younger years are priceless. I found this short to be
hilarious and a real hoot. If you enjoy the camp feel of John Waters
then you'll want to get a copy of this. You'll really enjoy it and
Edith Massey is a real doll. The filmmaker really put a lot of effort
in this production.
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