929 Female Trouble

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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929 Female Trouble

#1 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:09 pm

Female Trouble

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Glamour has never been more grotesque than in Female Trouble, which injects the Hollywood melodrama with anarchic decadence. Divine, director John Waters' larger-than-life muse, engulfs the screen with charisma as Dawn Davenport—who progresses from a teenage nightmare hell-bent on getting cha-cha heels for Christmas to a fame monster whose egomaniacal impulses land her in the electric chair—in the ultimate expression of the film's lurid mantra, "Crime is beauty." Shot in Baltimore on 16 mm, with a cast drawn from Waters' beloved troupe of regulars, the Dreamlanders (including Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey, and Cookie Mueller), this film, the director's favorite of his work with Divine, comes to life through the tinsel-toned vision of production designer Vincent Peranio and costume designer/makeup artist Van Smith. An endlessly quotable fan favorite, Female Trouble offers up perverse pleasures that never fail to satisfy.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

• New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Waters
• New conversation between Waters and critic Michael Musto
• New and archival interviews with cast and crew members Mink Stole, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce, and more
• Interview from 1975 featuring Waters and cast members Stole, Divine, and David Lochary
• Deleted scenes and alternate takes
• Rare on-set footage
• More!
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Ed Halter

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Roscoe
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#2 Post by Roscoe » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:32 pm

Excellent. I'm counting the days.

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Big Ben
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#3 Post by Big Ben » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:41 pm

I'll never say no to self aware trash. Levity is always welcome. Can't say I'm familiar with the film itself though. Another raunchy Waters x Divine collaboration can't be too bad though right?

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knives
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#4 Post by knives » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:41 pm

It's great to see that the pink set seems to be coming here wholesale. Hopefully Desperate Living is up next.

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Big Ben
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#5 Post by Big Ben » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:57 pm

I had forgotten about the tidbit I had heard about this film. Divine plays two separate characters in one scene and said characters have sex. He quite literally fucks himself.

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bainbridgezu
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#6 Post by bainbridgezu » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:23 pm

Big Ben wrote:I'll never say no to self aware trash. Levity is always welcome. Can't say I'm familiar with the film itself though. Another raunchy Waters x Divine collaboration can't be too bad though right?
You're in for a treat. Definitely one of Waters' best, with everyone in front of and behind the camera in top form. The performances are all perfectly calibrated around a knockout script, with each line delivered for maximum impact and memorability. Watch out for Mink Stole as Divine's daughter Taffy, who provides some of the biggest laughs.

Of all Waters' films, which I cherish tremendously, this is the one I find myself thinking of most often. Can't wait to check out the new restoration and soak in the grubby glamour of every frame. Especially glad the film is finally being presented in its correct aspect ratio, as the old New Line discs committed the egregious sin of lopping of some of Divine's exquisite hairdos.

Recent remarks suggest Polyester (another all-timer) is up next, and I can't imagine Pink Flamingos is far beyond. Hopefully Criterion will soon shine the spotlight on Desperate Living, and not neglect Pecker when the time comes.

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Lost Highway
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#7 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:59 pm

This is my favorite John Waters movie with endlessly quotable dialogue and the Dreamlanders on top form. Draping the gags and outrageousness around the framework of a classic Hollywood melodrama gives this a dramatic structure which his early films otherwise lack. It also features the greatest Christmas scene ever.

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colinr0380
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:00 pm

I'm with Lost Highway on the Christmas present ungrateful child scene! I do not remember if Dawn ever got those cha-cha heels!
Big Ben wrote:I had forgotten about the tidbit I had heard about this film. Divine plays two separate characters in one scene and said characters have sex. He quite literally fucks himself.
On a dirty mattress in the middle of a wasteland, no less!

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#9 Post by Lowry_Sam » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:37 pm

My favorite Waters' film. No Christmas is ever complete in my household without playing at least the 1st 15 minutes of this movie.

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bainbridgezu
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#10 Post by bainbridgezu » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Great to see so much love for this grubby gem. Hopefully even more people join the party once they check out this release.

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colinr0380
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#11 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:25 am

I sometimes wonder if the Divine and Mink Stole relationship of glamorous mother just trying to run a hairdressing business and ungrateful daughter is meant to parody Mildred Pierce! Its the film for anyone who ever wanted the mother to smash a chair across the brat's back!

And gosh Edith Massey is the absolute star of the show, if just for the outfit! I think that's the definition of being 'poured into' an outfit, even if it looks as if she is overflowing a little! And it is a very different character from the one she played in Pink Flamingos, even down to giving her a few lines about her absolute hatred for eggs!

I like the early John Waters films for different things: Pink Flamingos is still the best comically extreme setpiece film, whilst Female Trouble is the film that has the best whole storyline. I am not too fond of Desperate Living (despite another great Edith Massey performance!), but it does have the best opening fifteen minutes or so of any John Waters film!

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R0lf
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#12 Post by R0lf » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:40 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Big Ben wrote:I had forgotten about the tidbit I had heard about this film. Divine plays two separate characters in one scene and said characters have sex. He quite literally fucks himself.
On a dirty mattress in the middle of a wasteland, no less!
Which one ups itself again when Divine rings Divine for alimony and he tells her to "go fuck yourself".

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R0lf
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#13 Post by R0lf » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:46 am

And it seems completely obvious that the reason why we are getting this and POLYESTER first is because Criterion are saving PINK FLAMINGOS for the 1000 spine number.

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Aunt Peg
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#14 Post by Aunt Peg » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:36 am

colinr0380 wrote:I sometimes wonder if the Divine and Mink Stole relationship of glamorous mother just trying to run a hairdressing business and ungrateful daughter is meant to parody Mildred Pierce! Its the film for anyone who ever wanted the mother to smash a chair across the brat's back!
You must have seen a different version to the one I've seen so many times that I've lost count. Divine never runs a hairdressing business. It's the Dashers (David Lochary & Mary Vivian Pearce) that own the Lipstick Beauty Salon were Divine is a client who goes on to marry one of the hairdressers, Gater (Michael Potter).

Divine even states in her interview to become a client at the saloon that she is a thief & a shit kicker. Earlier in the film she is shown earning income in a series of shots such as working in a cafe, a go-go dancer, prostitute and stealing.

Still it can't be denied that the Dawn/Taffy relationship was inspired by any number of Hollywood classics.

This is John Waters' primary masterpiece and the sooner the other follow into the Criterion collection, the better.

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colinr0380
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#15 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:41 pm

Sorry, my mistake :oops:

dda1996a
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#16 Post by dda1996a » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:29 pm

Whats the ideal start through Waters filmography? This, Maniacs or his later more accessible films i.e Hairspray and Cry Baby?

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domino harvey
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#17 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:31 pm

Polyester seems like a good middle ground between the two Waters stages: outrageous seat of your pants trash and more slick studio trash

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knives
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#18 Post by knives » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:33 pm

Yeah, though I got in through Hairspray and Cry-Baby.

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Lost Highway
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#19 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:58 pm

dda1996a wrote:Whats the ideal start through Waters filmography? This, Maniacs or his later more accessible films i.e Hairspray and Cry Baby?
I too think Polyester is a good one, it’s a transitionary film and it’s one of his best. Then Female Trouble and Hairspray for the two best examples of his early and then more mainstream periods. I’d hold off on Multiple Maniacs till you’ve seen a few of his films.

I quite like Serial Mom but I’m not a huge fan of the films he made after that. I think his books were his best work from the mid-80s onwards. Crackpot is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

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cdnchris
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#20 Post by cdnchris » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:19 pm

I think the first film I started with was Serial Mom, and though I know it's not his most well regarded I honestly believe because I started there it helped me get more attuned to his sense of humour, like a gateway. If I started in order or went straight to his early ones I don't think i would have continued.

beamish13
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#21 Post by beamish13 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:13 pm

It would've been neat to have had an interview with Robert Shaye, the founder and longtime head of New Line Cinema. John Waters' oeuvre was incredibly important to his company's success.

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R0lf
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#22 Post by R0lf » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:44 pm

Start with PINK FLAMINGOS and work up.

Waters early movies are the real reward here and if you don't like those there isn't much point moving on to the the later ones.

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colinr0380
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#23 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:53 am

I would kill for a Criterion edition of Serial Mom!

I would also recommend Hairspray as a great entry point, as it is just as strange and wonderful with wild moments but does not quite so gleefully revel in the grubby extremes of behaviour as in the earlier films, instead upping the musical content to make up for the glorious ranting getting toned down a little (talking above about Divine getting it on with himself in Female Trouble reminded me that he is in two roles in Hairspray too as the mom and also a racist amusement park owner!). I think it is interesting too that Hairspray tones down the antics a bit from the competition over who is "Filthiest Person Alive" in Pink Flamingos or the completely out of this world environs of Mortville in Desperate Living to something more down to earth, yet compared to even the over the top antics in Female Trouble or the Sirkian soap parody world of Polyester, Hairspray gets a lot of its power by dealing with a much more significant issue of racism. Its a film that plays lighter and fluffier in tone than Waters' previous films but yet still retains that dark edge to it that prevents it on the one hand from getting too preachy in its dealings with the 'big issues', whilst at the same time it does not spin off into a universe completely detached from any worldly concerns! There is room there for both statements about tolerance, inclusion and respect, but also to have people hiding ticking timebombs inside their hair-dos!

Cry-Baby seems to have fallen into undeserved obscurity more recently but is also a great entry point, especially if you have any interest in Elvis movies!

In some ways it strikes me that John Waters and David Cronenberg are similar in that both of their most commercial films - Hairspray and The Fly - still remain distinctive expressions of their unique style. So distinctive that it would be difficult to imagine anyone else being able to tackle the material as successfully (even if people tried it again with the Hairspray musical remake and The Fly II!). It normally seems that a director's most 'commercial and mainstream' work ends up being compromised somewhat, but both Hairspray and The Fly buck that trend!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Feego
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#24 Post by Feego » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:23 pm

colinr0380 wrote:In some ways it strikes me that John Waters and David Cronenberg are similar in that both of their most commercial films - Hairspray and The Fly - still remain distinctive expressions of their unique style. So distinctive that it would be difficult to imagine anyone else being able to tackle the material as successfully (even if people tried it again with the Hairspray musical remake and The Fly II!). It normally seems that a director's most 'commercial and mainstream' work ends up being compromised somewhat, but both Hairspray and The Fly buck that trend!
It's interesting as well that since Hairspray has been so further toned down in the last 15 years by the musical (which apparently is a big favorite with young theatre buffs these days) and subsequent Travolta movie, the original by comparison seems all the darker and nastier. I remember some online critic even comparing Ricki Lake's characterization very unfavorably to Nikki Blonsky's in the 2007 film, calling Lake a sour orange or some similar absurdity because her version wasn't as blandly nice as Blonsky. I would love to see the reactions by an audience only familiar with the musical seeing Waters' original for the first time.

I also agree that Hairspray is a great entry point (it was mine), and I really disagree about starting with Pink Flamingos. While I won't say I didn't find some bizarre enjoyment in that one, truthfully had I started there, I likely would not have continued on with Waters' films. But since I had seen Hairspray, I decided to follow through with Female Trouble and Polyester, curious to see how he transitioned from the depravity of Flamingos to his more mainstream fare, and I'm certainly glad I did.

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colinr0380
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Re: 929 Female Trouble

#25 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:27 pm

Divine in Hairspray reminds me of my mum; Travolta in Hairspray reminds me of John Travolta in a dress and fat suit.

One of the other things that makes Hairspray seem even more subversive nowadays is that it isn't afraid to celebrate those of the more plumper persuasion! Isn't part of Tracey's sponsorship deal with the Hefty Hideaway store something like a neverending supply of chocolates to aid in keeping her at the desired weight? Yet the slim pretty (villainous!) girl is the one who breaks out in spots!

Since we are talking about John Waters' films as a whole, if anyone has not seen it and does not mind spoilers (though they necessarily cut away from and/or pixellate some of the more explicit moments to keep the video on YouTube!) that Red Letter Media channel did a great video about Pink Flamingos recently!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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