Although John Waters is best known for "Pink Flamingos", his two best films are "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living". Why? Well, as far as "Female Trouble" is concerned, it is the film that invented Dawn Davenport (Divine), one of the trashiest white schoolgirl tramps ever to strut her stuff in a pair of cha-cha heels. Dawn's amazing life is documented in this film and it's a cracker from beginning to end. You will laugh, you will cry, you will vomit and you will die as you behold the deliciously disgraceful antics of the indefatigable queen of crime and sleaze.
All the delightful Waters regulars (the achingly gorgeous Edith Massey, the fantastically filthy David Lochary, the marvellous Mink Stole and the putrid Ms. Mary Vivian Pearce) are paraded about like proud circus exhibits as Waters' weaves a rags to bitches story of one woman's rise from the suburbs of Baltimore to her fall in a city without pity.
Certainly this was one of the first films to explore the issue of criminals becoming celebrities. Dawn Davenport's ascent to the ceiling of crime is hilarious and perceptive and Waters clearly knew where all this was going. For mine, Waters lost his zing after "Desperate Living" when his movies got softer and his characters started turning up on TV shows like "Wally George", "Jerry Springer" and the earlier "Oprah" eps. What was fresh when Waters started doing it felt redundant when he kept doing it into the eighties and nineties.
Divine is, was and always will be a legend, and I consider myself fortunate that I once spent half an hour chatting with the great man and actor. Vincent Peranio's production design is spectacularly obnoxious and Van Smith's costumes, as always, are knitted from the threads of trash heaven.
Waters does not put a foot wrong and ends proceedings on a surprisingly emotional note.