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John Waters (1946 - )

Lifespan: 1946 -

Related: American cinema - director

Films: Pink Flamingos (1972)

"In order to acquire bad taste one must first have very good taste." - John Waters


John Waters (born April 29, 1946) is an American filmmaker. He has long been known as a "bad boy" among filmmakers. John Waters is also a professor for cinema and subculture at the European Graduate School. Dubbed "the pope of trash" by writer William Burroughs, his earlier film works included Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living, sometimes referred to as the Trash Trilogy. These films pushed hard at the boundaries of conventional propriety and movie censorship and indeed, many felt, good taste. A particularly notorious segment of Pink Flamingos featured transvestite actor Divine eating fresh dog feces.

Waters and Divine (then known as Glen Milstead) lived near Baltimore as boys, a short distance apart, where they met and became friends. Mainly based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Waters tended to work with a regular team of actors (the Dreamlanders) who starred in most of his films, including Divine, Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, and others. His early films were among the first picked up for distribution by New Line Cinema, most recently famous for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

His 1981 film Polyester starred Divine opposite, once-teen-idol Tab Hunter. His films have become less controversial and more mainstream, although works such as Hairspray, Cry Baby and Serial Mom still retain his trademark inventiveness. The film Hairspray was turned into a hit Broadway musical, which swept the 2003 Tony Awards.

Waters has also published collections of his writings including Shock Value (1981), Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters (1987, Revised Edition 2003), Trash Trio: Three Screenplays : Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, Flamingos Forever (1988), Director's Cut (1997) and Art: A Sex Book (2003). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Waters_%28filmmaker%29 [Feb 2005]


Polyester (35 mm) 1981 (color) starring Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, Stiv Bators, David Samson, Mary Garlington, Ken King, Mink Stole, Joni-Ruth White; released through New Line Cinema. This film was released in "odorama", which meant that a "scratch and sniff" card corresponding to moments in the film (eg, Divine farting) was issued to cinema goers. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Waters_%28filmmaker%29 [Feb 2005]

More films

  1. John Waters Collection #2: Polyester/ Desperate Living (1981) - John Waters [Amazon US]
    Director John Waters broke new boundaries of bad taste with his hilariously trashy tale of suburban misadventure Polyester. His favorite leading lady, transvestite Divine, plays Francine Fishpaw, a dissatisfied suburban housefrau who longs for a little romance in her life because her husband and children drive her crazy. Salvation arrives in the form of Tod Tomorrow (Tab Hunter), a drive-in owner who sweeps Francine off her feet (a mean task, given Divine's girth). But he's not all he's cracked up to be.

    Everyone in Desperate Living's Mortville has some horrible secret to hide. The mentally unstable Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole, in a superb display of overacting) and her 300-pound-plus maid Grizelda must take it on the lam after Grizelda smothers Peggy's husband under her elephantine buttocks. They find themselves in Mortville, a shanty fiefdom ruled by the grotesque Queen Carlotta (the incomparable Edith Massey). The evil queen delights in tormenting her subjects, but Peggy and Grizelda soon team up with a pair of lesbian outcasts, and a rebellion is in the air. Notable for the absence of Waters regular Divine, this movie pushes the rest of the cast to their over-the-top best. Nasty, shabby, gross, and hilarious, this is John Waters at his best. --Amazon.com

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