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Desperate Living (1977)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Fantasy  |  27 May 1977 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,314 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 36 critic

A rich housewife enlists her maid's help to murder her husband; they go on the lam and end up in Mortville, a homeless community built into a garbage dump.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mary Vivian Pearce ...
...
...
Bosley Jr. (as Brook Blake)
Karen Gerwig ...
Beth
Jay Allan ...
Kid
Al Strapelli ...
Doctor Evans
George Stover ...
Bosley Gravel
Turkey Joe ...
Motorcycle Cop
Willie Brooks ...
Pieman
James Yeaton ...
Dead Bum
Ed Peranio ...
Lieutenant Wilson
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Storyline

A rich housewife murders her husband with the help of her overweight maid, and the two go on the run, ending up in Mortville, a town providing refuge for criminals. They shack up with a lesbian ex-wrestler and her murderess lover, before running into the tyrannical Queen Carlotta, ruler of Mortville... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

queen | murder | maid | shack | lesbian | See All (135) »

Taglines:

It isn't very pretty.....


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 May 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mortville  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$65,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Newspapers refused to run the original ad for this film, a photo of a cooked rat on a plate. See more »

Goofs

When Mole first meets Peggy and Grizelda she tells them that there are no toilets in Mortville, but at the lesbian bar there are toilets, where Peggy is harassed by the 'bathroom pervert'. See more »

Quotes

Queen Carlotta: [giving one of her nude guards a spanking] This will teach you to arouse royalty.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Desperate Living's opening credits appear beside an overhead shot of a formal table setting, in which a maid serves a cooked rat as the main course, which is salted and eaten. See more »

Connections

References Yojimbo (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great John Waters classic
18 May 2000 | by (DVD Drive-In) – See all my reviews

Fans of John Waters have always disputed which of his films is his best. Two titles will almost always come up: "Female Trouble" and this movie. While I prefer the former, I can understand why "Desperate Living" would also be considered his best!

While Divine was touring with an off-Broadway play, Waters decided to make a movie starring only women! While there are a few men here and there, the cast is predominantly women! Mink Stole is Peggy Gravel, the snobby upper-class lunatic who goes into frantic anxiety attacks and thinks her children have sex! Jean Hill makes one of two film performances as Grizelda Brown, the black maid who smothers Peggy's husband by sitting on him! Susan Lowe is the butch Mole and Liz Renay is the slutty Muffy, two lesbian lovers in the scuzzy town of Mortville! Edith Massey is the evil Queen Carlotta, the tyrannical ruler of Mortville whose soldiers are leather-clad homosexuals! Mary Vivian Pearce is Princess Coo Coo, the half-wit who wants to marry a nudist garbageman! Cookie Mueller is Flipper, a sadistic nightclub performer who tortures men on stage, and Susan Niesp is her lover who sleeps with midgets! If this sounds like entertainment to you, "Desperate Living" is right up your alley! Additional highlights: a transvestite motorcycle cop with bleeding gums, a bizarre lesbian scene between Peggy and Grizelda, and a sex change resulting in a disgusting penis for Mole, which is eventually cut off with scissors and eaten by a dog!

All of the performances are top-notch, the script and dialogue are hilarious, and overall, "Desperate Living" is worthy of being called Waters' best film (but it isn't). Recommended for those who are looking for a comedy that's different.


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