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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 3,417 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

John Waters:  [manson]  There is a portrait of Charles Manson in Queen Carlotta's cardboard castle. Also, someone in Mortville cries out "Squeaky Fromme, where are you when we need you?" Lynette Fromme, aka "Squeaky", was a Manson follower who tried to assassinate US President 'Gerald Ford'. 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

Mr. Paul: This Backwards Day's a lot of shit, ain't it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

on the closing credits, both luitenant wilson and luitenant williams are credited as being played by ed peranio See more »

Connections

Featured in Divine Waters (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Undistilled Waters
17 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The only John Waters film to date set in what is virtually an alternate universe -- the town of Mortville, Maryland -- a disgusting shantytown that inexplicably is governed by its own fascist Empress (Edith Massey), who is both cruel and unusual, and who lives in a Disneyland-like castle. This film is hard-core, undistilled Waters, working in his Classic Period that includes "Pink Flamingos" (his breakthrough film) and "Female Trouble" (possibly his greatest work). Filming without his leading lady/leading man, Divine, "Desperate Living" emerges as more of an ensemble film featuring notorious Hollywood starlet Liz Renay, Waters regular Mink Stole, and Jean Hill, discovered and making a striking debut herein. "Desperate Living" is audacious and fevered and yet has a naive quality to it, typical of Waters' artistic charm. Filmed on a shoestring budget, the film benefits from creative and eye-filling sets by Vince Peranio and costumes by Van Smith. It is a fusion of the surreal, the self-consciously rude and outrageous, and an homage to bad movies past. Acted out in a raucous, strident fashion favored by the director that punches every word across with triple exclamation points, "Desperate Living" is the pinnacle of Waters' wild style. It was followed by a comparatively more demure "Polyester" with Divine returning to the starring role, toned down for wider audience appeal. Needless for me to add, this film isn't for everyone nor was it meant to be, as is obvious right from the opening credits.


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