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Polyester (1981)

R | | Comedy | 29 May 1981 (USA)
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.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Divine ... Francine Fishpaw
Tab Hunter ... Todd Tomorrow
Edith Massey ... Cuddles Kovinsky
David Samson David Samson ... Elmer Fishpaw
Mary Garlington Mary Garlington ... Lu-Lu Fishpaw
Ken King ... Dexter Fishpaw
Mink Stole ... Sandra Sullivan
Joni Ruth White Joni Ruth White ... La Rue
Hans Kramm Hans Kramm ... Heintz
Stiv Bators ... Bo-Bo Belsinger
Rick Breitenfeld Rick Breitenfeld ... Dr. Arnold Quackenshaw
Michael Watson Michael Watson ... Freddy Ashton
Derek Neal Derek Neal ... Pimp
Jean Hill ... Gospel Bus Hijacker
Jim Hill Jim Hill ... Picket Reporter
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Storyline

Francine Fishpaw is an upper middle class suburban housewife in Baltimore. Unfortunately for this "good Christian woman", the money to support her lifestyle comes from her husband's porno theater, the neighbors are protesting, her son is the notorious "Baltimore Stomper", her daughter is knocked up by a local hoodlum, and her husband is having an affair with his secretary. Written by Stephen J. LeBlanc <sjl@townsend.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Smelling is believing. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hullu haiseva maailma See more »

Filming Locations:

Severna Park, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New Line Cinema See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This picture would be the last major movie to feature a "scratch-and-sniff" card film gimmick until Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World (2011) thirty years later which featured one called "Aromascope" with this later movie being first released in cinemas in the 30th anniversary year of Polyester (1981). See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene in the living room, as the Fishpaws are arguing, a boom mic is visible. This was corrected for later DVD releases. See more »

Quotes

Francine Fishpaw: Lu-Lu, there's a living thing inside of you... Oh Lu-Lu, that baby is part of you!
Lu-Lu Fishpaw: It's *stealing* part of me, you mean! I can feel it like cancer, getting bigger and bigger, like the Blob. One day it'll rip me open, and it'll be there in my life, ready to rob me of every bit of fun I deserve to have!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, the title song "Polyester" describes the action seen on screen, leading the audience through a helicopter shot of the suburbs into Francine's house (commenting on its French Provincial decor) and upstairs to meet her. See more »

Connections

Referenced in More Lust, Less Dust (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Polyester
(Title Song)
Words and music by Chris Stein and Debbie Harry
Vocals by Tab Hunter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Smellovision
10 November 1999 | by batzi8m1See all my reviews

This was my first John Waters movie, and it opened with scratch and sniff cards. Each "spot" had a color and number and when the appropriate scene arrived we had the privilege of smelling what was on screen. Devine's character had an odor fetish and was constantly spraying air freshener, while a nefarious plot was instigated to drive her insane by planting offensively smelly things like gym sox, dead fish etc for her to find at home.

Her husband runs an adult cinema. Her son, based on the Baltimore Stomper, a true character, sniffs industrial solvents, stalks women with cute shoes and feet, and then stomps on them with his combat boots. The daughter, obviously the model for Christine Applegate's character in Married With Children, is the high school slut that dances on tables for quarters. And Mom worries about fresh scents.

With these subplots to the main plot, it should be obvious that plot resolution and character development are not the main attractions in a John Waters movie. The caricature of society and its stereotypes is his game, and the best moment of the movie has to be when the TV news camera is in the face of one of the Baltimore Stomper's victims as she is being carried to the ambulance on a strecher. The victim's on camera stream of obscene invectives against the callous media was one of the great moments of the movie because it was such a refreshing expression of the common person's real disgust and frustration with tabloid evening news and a culture that trivializes human suffering. Juxtapose a broken instep with the main character's insufferable pain of finding a smelly sock and you have the theme of this movie. Even the fairytale resolutions to the problems are a hilarious sendup of 80's America.

If you want to see what makes John Waters such a cult hero, but would find Female Trouble or Pink Flamingos too offensive, this was his first attempt to bridge the gap to the more accessible films he made later, while still having enough of the gross-out quality for a good laugh riot.

(Serial Mom will be on TV the weekend after Veteran's Day, and it is another very accessible glimpse into the mind of Mr. Waters.)


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