7.2/10
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Desperate Living (1977)

A neurotic society woman murders her husband with the help of her maid and, on the lam, escape to Mortville, a homeless community ruled over by a fascist queen.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bosley Jr. (as Brook Blake)
Karen Gerwig ...
Jay Allan ...
Kid
Al Strapelli ...
Doctor Evans
...
Bosley Gravel
Turkey Joe ...
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 (137) »

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It isn't very pretty.....


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Details

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Release Date:

27 May 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mortville  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

Muffy St. Jacques: The press still calls me "The Dog Food Murderess". I can never go back, I couldn't bear the shame!
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

Referenced in Divine Trash (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Metaphysical Format Reduces Power of Waters's Attack on American Value
8 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

After rich housewife Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) accidentally murders her husband and runs away with her overweight black maid Grizelda Brown (Jean Hill) to Mortville, a community of outcasts and criminals ruled by Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey), Desperate Living starts losing the power of John Waters's greatest merit--attack on the norm of the American value. For a Waters film, the more fictitious and metaphysical its format is, the less effective the outcome of his attack is; that's why realistic (for Waters) Female Trouble is intense but fairytale-ish Desperate Living is not. Freaky actors screaming and doing nonsense are amusing to watch, but, needless to say, missing irreplaceable Divine is a significant disadvantage for early Waters.


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