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John Waters Collection #3: Pink Flamingos/ Female Trouble

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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(Oct 02, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews


Pink Flamingos This is the movie that made John Waters famous, and quite possibly the film that made bad taste cool. Yes, Virginia, a large transvestite actually eats dog feces as a kind of dizzying denouement to this frequently illogical and intentionally disgusting movie, but by the time that happens, you're already numb... and you've possibly laughed to the point of losing bladder control. The plot revolves around two vile families laying claim to the title "The Filthiest People Alive." You've got pregnant women in pits, you've got grown men getting sexual satisfaction from chickens, you've got people licking furniture to perform trailer-park voodoo, and you've got classic lines like: "Oh my God! The couch... it... it rejected you!"

Waters, who went on to direct genuine pop-culture classics such as Hairspray and Serial Mom, made this celluloid sideshow with one aim--to make a name for himself. It worked. He does have a genuine eye for filmmaking (when the trailer burns down, you feel the white heat of Divine's pain and anger). On the other hand, you won't notice any disclaimers about stunt doubles and animals not being mistreated. There weren't, and they were. Welcome to the filthiest film in the world. --Grant Balfour

Female Trouble John Waters expands the definition of female trouble in this mutant tribute to good-girl-gone-bad drive-in melodramas. The girl is, of course, cross-dressing cult icon Divine, Waters's plus-sized muse. Divine is at her most gleefully outrageous as teenage brat Dawn Davenport, who runs away from home and into a life of wanton hedonism all because she didn't get cha-cha heels for Christmas. Almost immediately she's molested by a sleazy motorcycle thug (also played by Divine--is this Waters's idea of "love thyself"?), but she doesn't let motherhood interfere with her plans of stardom and turns herself into an unlikely fashion statement in an apocalyptic fashion show. Waters's fourth feature, a follow-up to the midnight movie hit Pink Flamingos, is just as cinematically primitive and even more gleefully vulgar, right down to the electric climax of Dawn's road to everlasting fame.

The DVD also features a commentary track by the always-entertaining John Waters. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey
  • Directors: John Waters
  • Writers: John Waters
  • Producers: John Waters, James McKenzie, Jimmy Hutzler, Jochen Breitenstein, Leroy Morais
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2001
  • Run Time: 206 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NC4Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,089 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "John Waters Collection #3: Pink Flamingos/ Female Trouble" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

You have NO idea how happy I am that Female Trouble is finally being released on DVD. It has to be my all time favorite cult movie ever. John Waters brings so much of his trade-mark trash to the movie that it stands-out as one of his most signature early pieces, even though he had already made movies such as Pink Flamingos, Mondo Trasho and Eat Your Make-Up. Divine definately shines in the staring role as Dawn Davenport. Tired of her common social life at home, Dawn decides that she will make her own mark on the world and does so as no other woman can! Dawn goes from a high school misfit, to a go-go dancer, a cafe waitress, a theif, a high-fashion crime model, and a serial killer, all while trying to be a loving mother to her obnoxious retarded daughter Taffy, played by another John Waters star regular Mink Stole. And let's not forget about the third star of the movie who you won't be able to forget no matter how hard you try: Edith Massey! Edith, the grotesque diva that also stars in a number of John's films, plays Aunt Ida, the aunt to Divine's worthless hairdresser husband. John gives her more of a 'glamorous' role compared to her earlier character in Pink Flamingos. In Female Trouble, just give Edith a glass of Sherry and she becomes a black spandex wearing diva who can put Olivia Newton-John to shame! While this is definately NOT a movie for everyone, it is very high on humor and camp. So, if you're a big cult classic fan, and not prudish or weak-of-stomach, this is one DVD you should NOT miss out on!
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Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble are among the best films by director John Waters, and to have them TOGETHER and on DVD is a thrill. Since I bought the disks, my life has been like a vacation!
There are one or two things, however, which probably need to be said about the DVD. Because Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble were originated on 16mm. film, the current wide-screen transfer is somewhat of a violation. Most of the time it isn't really a problem -- especially in Pink Flamingos. But there are scenes in Female Trouble when the reframing necessary to approximate a wide-screen image has almost eliminated important visual information at the top and bottom of the frame.
In the Christmas Tree scene, for example, one can now only barely glimpse Dawn's slippers as she goes on her elephantesque rampage. The scene is still funny, but not as much so. There are several other examples, but I leave them for you to discover. I wish that NewLine had the courage to "Window Box" these films, or at least used standard TV screen ratio instead of cropping them into a widescreen ratio they were never meant to have.
I am puzzled, too, by some of the soundtrack from Pink Flamingos. My ancient VHS copy (and all the film copies I have seen) use music cues from "The Planets" for those shots where the Marbles spy on Divine's birthday party. Though the party music itself remains the same on the DVD (and on the previous Laser-Disk), the intercut shots now have a different musical accompanyment. What happened?
I am very pleased that the end credit sequence in Female Trouble has been _restored_ so to speak (actually, it was re-created rather than truly restored. But it's nice all the same).
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As an opening disclaimer, if you are a big fan of "Hairspray" (in either ints movie or musical form), these films are not necessarily for you. Even after the films of the Farrelly Brothers, MTV's "Jackass," and countless other bits of media that suggest the fall of Western Civilization, "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble" remain the crowning gems of shock cinema. These films have not only crossed the line of good taste; they've taken a paid vacation to a tropical island that sits 3,000 miles past the line.
"Pink Flamingos" is the generally recognized classic. The film features infamous scenes of feces eating, meat smuggling, and singing rectums among its accomplishments of sleeze. Amazing, there is still a plot that involves two families vying to earn the title of "the filthiest people alive." What makes the movie work amidst its vile setpieces is the sense of fun behind it all, and the strangest delivery of some of the stranges lines ever.
"Female Trouble" is even better. The convoluted but followable story revolves around Dawn Davenport and her lifelong attempts to become notorious, culminating in her completely insane presentation of murder as art. All of Waters' regulars appear once again, and the film trumps the disgustingness of "Pink Flamingos" (even if it has nothing quite as vomit inducing as eating dog poo).
The commentaries on these discs are as great as the movie. I'm not a big fan of commentaries, but I always take the extra effort to give John Waters' rants a listen. Much of the info for these films may also be found in Waters' book "Shock Value" (which is also wonderful), but his speaking style is really infectious and captivating.
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This is, by far, the best John Waters dvd two-pack. With "Female Trouble" as one of the films, how could it not be? As others have noted before, "Female Trouble" is John Waters' best early film, and perhaps the best film of his career.
Notable facts about this dvd release:
"Female Trouble" has been "restored" to the "original uncut full-length version". Many scenes are longer, some significantly so. Some of the lines which have been edited out over the years are truly priceless, such as Aunt Ida saying to Taffy: "If you ever get tired of being a Hairy Krishner [sic], you come live with me and be a lesbian." What surprised me is how much was cut. The Castro Theater in San Francisco periodically features "Female Trouble," and the print they use has always contained a few additional lines here and there. The version on this dvd goes much further. While I didn't see "Female Trouble" in its initial theatrical release (I was only 12 years old!), I assume that the packaging is correct and that the film now appears in its original length. The audio has definitely been improved over the previous VHS tape release, particularly noticable on some of the music clips; the video also looks cleaner.
Included on the "Pink Flamingos" disc are deleted scenes.
I haven't listened to the commentary tracks yet, but based on John's commentaries for his other films, I'm sure they'll be a hoot.
Definitely a must-own for John Waters fans or anyone with an appreciation for high camp.
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