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Hairspray (1988)

A 'pleasantly plump' teenager teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

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7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ruth Brown ...
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Amber von Tussle (as Colleen Fitzpatrick)
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Leslie Ann Powers ...
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Storyline

'Pleasantly Plump' teenager Tracy Turnblad achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show's former star, Amber Von Tussle, as well as Amber's manipulative, pro-segregation parents. The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1962... JFK was in The White House... John Glenn was in orbit... Cadillacs had fins... Beehives were in... And girls really knew how to tease! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

26 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

White Lipstick  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,671,108 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Velma Von Tussle was offered to Mary Weiss of the 1960s band The Shangri-Las. See more »

Goofs

The Corny Collins Show plays Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me," which was released in early 1964. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy Turnblad: Come on! Come on!
Penny Pingleton: Okay, all right.
Tracy Turnblad: Will you hurry up?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the ending credits, there are footsteps moving to the beat of the song playing in the background. See more »


Soundtracks

Train to Nowhere
Written by Dave Burgess
Performed by The Champs
Courtesy of All-Star Masters Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Baltimore teens dance and battle segregation in the '60s
4 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ricki Lake plays Tracy Turnblad, a short, chubby teen with big hair who loves to dance in "Hairspray," a 1988 John Waters film starring Divine, Deborah Harry, Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Jerry Stiller, and Mink Stole. "Hairspray" has now been immortalized on Broadway as an enormous, energetic, fabulously entertaining musical which kept the conceit of a man playing Tracy's mother, again with great success.

"Hairspray" is highly exaggerated in parts, which makes it extra funny, and Waters captures '60s Baltimore beautifully. Corny Collins, who is the Baltimore Dick Clark, would like nothing better than to integrate his television show, but blacks are only permitted to dance one night a week. The van Tussles are for segregation - that would be Sonny Bono, running for office, his wife Harry (on stage the former Miss Baltimore Crabs, in the film Miss Soft Crab). Harry's hairstyles are fantastic - HUGE - her last hairdo is in the form of an enormous loving cup.

When Tracy's friend Penny takes up with the son of an outspoken black woman, Motormouth Mabel (Ruth Brown), her hysterical mother has her kidnapped and put in the hands of a psychiatrist (Divine as a man) who tries to torture her to stop liking black men. It's so outrageous it's funny, and that's where Waters shows his talent. When Tracy gets a contract modeling for a plus-sized woman's shop, the owner's live ad on Corny's show begins, "Tubby, tubby, 2 x 4, can't get through the kitchen door." It's this madcap treatment that keeps any of this from being remotely offensive.

All the performances are delightful, and there's a nice turn by Pia Zadora as a black-haired beatnik chick.

"Hairspray" has a lot of warmth that emanates from Tracy and the Turnblad family, and the mood stays upbeat throughout the entire film as the characters dance through life, Tracy with an overlay of blonde hair over her dark flip. Great music, great fun. "Hairspray" in any version is wonderful.


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