Female Trouble (1974)
May 24, 2018 7:00 PM - Subscribe

A spoiled schoolgirl runs away from home, gets pregnant while hitch-hiking, and ends up as a fashion model for a pair of beauticians who like to photograph women committing crimes.

Variety: Female Trouble is the sordid tale of Dawn Davenport, who rises from high school hoyden to mistress of crime before frying in the electric chair. As she climbs the ladder of success, she is raped by a stranger, gives birth to an obnoxious child who later murders the father, marries a beautician whose mother she imprisons in a bird cage before cutting off her hand and opens a niteclub act during which she guns down members of the audience. A true original.

Repeating from Pink Flamingos in the stellar role is Divine, a mammoth 300-pound transvestite with a tinsel soul. Though Divine doesn’t stoop to devouring dog excrement as at the Flamingos fade-out, he does everything else, from cavorting on a trampoline, to playing a rape scene opposite himself, and ‘giving birth’ on camera. Camp is too elegant a word to describe it all.

NYTimes: “Female Trouble” is regional camp of very limited appeal, a movie that celebrates tackiness in a way that was revolutionary and sometimes very funny in the sixties when Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey did it. Now it seems almost provincial. though I realize that too could be interpreted as a plus by people who are willing to work very hard to rationalize small laughs.

Divine, who looks like a hippo in drag even when he's not in drag, may not be an untalented comedian, though its impossible to tell in a movie in which the second‐rateness of everything is the point. In the Warhol‐Morrissey films such as “Trash” and “Women’ in Revolt,” the wit and the idiosyncracies of the performers (Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling) had the effect of reversing the reversals, so that the films were funnier (and more serious) than was immediately apparent.


'Female Trouble' Was the Film That Taught Me I Didn't Need to Have an Ordinary Life

Female Trouble: Subverting Straight Culture & Loving It

Watch: John Waters Talks Female Trouble and his Career with J. Hoberman
posted by MoonOrb (2 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by rmd1023 at 6:21 AM on May 25, 2018

I loved Multiple Maniacs and Pink Flamingos, but there is something mean-spirited about Female Trouble that makes it my least favorite of Waters' earlier, trashier work.
posted by Clustercuss at 8:39 AM on May 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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