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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ruth Brown ...
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Amber von Tussle (as Colleen Fitzpatrick)
Michael St. Gerard ...
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 »

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Details

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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

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The von Tussles are quoting George Wallace (who was not yet Alabama's Governor when the film is set) when they say, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!" See more »

Goofs

When the two kids in the red car pull to the curb, two boys in blue pants walk by twice. 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 »

Connections

Spoofs The Buddy Deane Show (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Hairspray
Written by Rachel Sweet, Willa Bassen, and Anthony Battaglia
Performed by Rachel Sweet
Produced by Kenny Vance
Courtesy of Studio 900 Music, Sweet Rebel Music, and New Line Music
See more »

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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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