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R.I.P. David Lochary 21 August 1944 to 20 July 1977
on July 26, 2004
Sadly, Female Trouble would mark the final collaboration between John Waters and the fiendishly glamourous David Lochary.
John Waters is one of the few filmmakers who understands the mechanism by which high-profile criminals become popular icons in the public's imagination. In Female Trouble this idea is investigated with the typically perverse Waters' touch. Ultimately, the film is not particularly subversive when viewed within the construct of the sewer which is contemporary popular culture. Nevertheless, Waters illustrates the fine line that exists between glamour and crime. Criminals, as long as their trials last (and oftentimes beyond) are treated with a kind of scrutiny usually reserved for Hollywood elite and heads of State.
In Female Trouble, we are treated to the birth of absolute glamour. Dawn Davenport,as played with typical manic abandonment by Divine, is clearly a young woman of vision. She is trapped at school, thwarted at home, and utterly unable to satisfy her essential beauty needs. When things are at their bleakest, Dawn doesn't cry. She takes action and takes to the road. Her fight for liberation from a world infected with glamour abortions--is the core theme of this film. Beauty at all costs. It is a glorious dream indeed.
Of course, something that sexy is bound to get picked up, right? In Dawn's case, she gets picked up by Earl (boozing machinist, played magnificently by Divine (as Harris Glenn Milstead). Earl knows a hot body when he sees one, so he takes Dawn to an abandoned matress and proceeds to make sweet love to her. See, it is actually wondefully twisted becauses it is Divine screwing himself. The schitt stains on his drawers are a particularly delicious touch. Anyway, that foul meeting leads to a wicked little girl named Taffy. Taffy is pure, sinister fun. She doesn't get to go to school, doesn't have any friends, and is forced to socialize with an increasingly morose and critical Dawn. Oh, the sweet brutality that child suffers at the hands of her Mama. If you like child abuse, you'll be gassed by Taffy's plight. Especially when she is played by Waters regular, Mink Stole. Oh, what joy seeing a grown woman dressed like a profoundly deprived Shirley Temple on Meth.
Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary embody an ascetic, glacial glamour that is enhanced by their artic attire. As Donna and Donald Dasher, they are sexless, emotionless ciphers devoted completely to their credo that "crime is beauty". Dawn, who's devotion to pure glamour eventually supercedes even the Dashers, is the perfect vehicle for the Dasher's philosophy. She is certainly eager to participate in the Dasher's supreme vision. This vision culminates in a wild final sequence that is decidedly not particularly glamourous. I don't quite know what the intent was of these final scenes, but they didn't live up to the promise as personified by the Dashers.
Edith Massey once again shimmies her beautiful form into exceedingly revealing costumes. There is even a shot of her heaving rack. I'd take that over a thousand shots of Angelina Jolie. . Edie is subjected to all sorts of indignities as the colorful Aunt Ida. She's verbally abused, mutilated, and confined like a Slave on a ship. Yet, she retains her girlish charm and it is impossible not to feel sympathetic towards her. That is basically the genius of Edith Massey. She even had me rooting for her as the completely sadistic Queen Carlotta in Desperate Living. I bet she made really strong drinks for her friends...