Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".
A suburban housewife's world falls apart when she finds that her pornographer husband is serially unfaithful to her, her daughter is pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet.
A day in the lives of a hit-and-run driver and her victim, and the bizarre things that happen to them before and after they collide (sexual assault by a crazed foot-fetishist, visions of ... See full summary »
A talented young photographer, who enjoys snapping photos of his satirical, perverted Baltimore neighborhood and his wacky family, gets dragged into a world of pretentious artists from New York City and finds newfound fame.
The life and times of Dawn Davenport, showing her progress from loving schoolgirl to crazed mass murderer - all of which stems from her parents' refusal to buy her cha-cha heels for Christmas. She runs away from home, is raped, becomes a single mother, criminal and glamorous model before her inevitable rendezvous with the electric chair...Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
For Charles Watson (the Manson Family member). Waters' prison visits to Watson inspired the "crime is beauty" theme of the film, and Waters used a toy wooden helicopter Watson made for him in the credits. See more »
The European cut of the film, which has actually circulated in the United States at Midnight film festivals, features a slightly different cut of the film with different scenes, including:
more interaction between the hairdressers in the Lipstick Beauty salon.
a scene where Dawn has a discussion with Vicki (the receptionist) about her failing marriage with Gator
an extended scene where Dawn gives Taffy the address of her father, Earl Peterson
extra footage of Earl making a sandwich with the knife that Taffy later uses to kill him
an extended version of the scene where Taffy arrives to set Aunt Ida free from the bird cage, after which Ida invites Taffy to move in with her and become a lesbian. Additionally, a lot of the footage of Dawn in the jail cell has been cut, as is the scene where she is chased through the woods of Maryland by the police. Finally, there is an actual credit sequence after Dawn's electrocution, which features an eerie reprisal of the theme song sung by Divine.
The film that introduced Dawn Davenport to an ungrateful world
Although John Waters is best known for "Pink Flamingos", his two best films are "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living". Why? Well, as far as "Female Trouble" is concerned, it is the film that invented Dawn Davenport (Divine), one of the trashiest white schoolgirl tramps ever to strut her stuff in a pair of cha-cha heels. Dawn's amazing life is documented in this film and it's a cracker from beginning to end. You will laugh, you will cry, you will vomit and you will die as you behold the deliciously disgraceful antics of the indefatigable queen of crime and sleaze.
All the delightful Waters regulars (the achingly gorgeous Edith Massey, the fantastically filthy David Lochary, the marvellous Mink Stole and the putrid Ms. Mary Vivian Pearce) are paraded about like proud circus exhibits as Waters' weaves a rags to bitches story of one woman's rise from the suburbs of Baltimore to her fall in a city without pity.
Certainly this was one of the first films to explore the issue of criminals becoming celebrities. Dawn Davenport's ascent to the ceiling of crime is hilarious and perceptive and Waters clearly knew where all this was going. For mine, Waters lost his zing after "Desperate Living" when his movies got softer and his characters started turning up on TV shows like "Wally George", "Jerry Springer" and the earlier "Oprah" eps. What was fresh when Waters started doing it felt redundant when he kept doing it into the eighties and nineties.
Divine is, was and always will be a legend, and I consider myself fortunate that I once spent half an hour chatting with the great man and actor. Vincent Peranio's production design is spectacularly obnoxious and Van Smith's costumes, as always, are knitted from the threads of trash heaven.
Waters does not put a foot wrong and ends proceedings on a surprisingly emotional note.
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