7.3/10
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Female Trouble (1974)

NC-17 | | Comedy, Crime | 28 March 1984 (France)
A spoiled schoolgirl runs away from home, gets pregnant while hitch-hiking, and ends up as a fashion model for a pair of beauticians who like to photograph women committing crimes.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
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Child actors perform a 'kid-friendly' table read version of John Water's notorious 1972 X-rated cult classic film, Pink Flamingos.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Madelyn Beckett, Taylor Howard-Goergens, Dexter Shaffer
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Divine ... Dawn Davenport / Earl Peterson
David Lochary David Lochary ... Donald Dasher
Mary Vivian Pearce ... Donna Dasher
Mink Stole ... Taffy Davenport
Edith Massey ... Aunt Ida
Cookie Mueller ... Concetta
Susan Walsh ... Chicklette
Michael Potter ... Gater
Ed Peranio Ed Peranio ... Wink
Paul Swift Paul Swift ... Butterfly
George Figgs George Figgs ... Dribbles
Susan Lowe ... Vikki
George Hulse George Hulse ... Teacher
Margie Skidmore Margie Skidmore ... School Snitch
Berenica Cipcus Berenica Cipcus ... Mean Girl
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Storyline

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 <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Divine Returns! with the whole "Pink Flamingos" gang in John Waters' Female Trouble See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1984 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Rotten Mind, Rotten Face See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dreamland See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (16 mm) | (original length)

Sound Mix:

Chace Surround (2001 re-release)| Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although released in 1974 the copyright date at the end of the credits is MCMXCIX or 1999. See more »

Goofs

The word "chaplain" is misspelled "chaplin" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Dawn Davenport: I'd like to set fire to this dump!
Concetta: Just 'cause we're pretty everybody's jealous!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

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.
See more »

Connections

References The Girl Can't Help It (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Dig
Written by Jimmy Drake
Performed by Jimmy Drake (as Nervous Norvus)
Courtesy of MCA Records
under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The film that introduced Dawn Davenport to an ungrateful world
11 December 2005 | by fertilecelluloidSee all my reviews

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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