“Where do these people come from? Where do they go when the sun goes down? Isn’t there a law of something?” -Rex Reed
Glamour has never been more grotesque than in Female Trouble, John Waters‘ 1974 classic, dubbed at the time “a new high in low taste.” The film injects old-school Hollywood melodrama with anarchic decadence. Divine, Waters’ larger-than-life muse, engulfs the screen with charisma as Dawn Davenport, the living embodiment of the film’s lurid mantra, “Crime is beauty,” who progresses from a teenage nightmare hell-bent on getting ‘cha-cha heels’ for Christmas to a fame monster whose ego-maniacal impulses land her in the electric chair.
Shot in Waters’ native Baltimore on 16 mm, with a cast drawn from his beloved troupe of regulars, the Dreamlanders (including Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey and Cookie Mueller), this film – the director’s official 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 and now it’s received the royal treatment from The Criterion Collection! Criterion also released Multiple Maniacs recently, which has us hopeful that they’ll end up taking on his entire catalog at some point.
Out this week, the new special edition features a brand-new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; audio commentary from 2004 featuring Waters; a new conversation between Waters and esteemed film critic Dennis Lim; new and archival interviews with cast and crew members Mink Stole, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce, Hilary Taylor, and Van Smith; an interview from 1975 featuring Waters and cast members Divine, Stole, and David Lochary; deleted scenes, alternate takes and more extremely rare on-set footage; and a new essay by film critic Ed Halter.
Check out the original trailer for Female Trouble below and click here to order your copy. The brand-new Criterion Edition is out this week! You can also click here to order Multiple Maniacs. Let’s hope there are more of these coming in the near future, because they really give your DVD/Blu-ray shelf the perfect mix of high and low class.