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Desperate Living [Import]

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Liz Renay, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, Edith Massey, Mary Vivian Pearce
  • Directors: John Waters
  • Writers: John Waters
  • Producers: John Waters, David Spencer, James McKenzie, William Platt
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • Release Date: Sept. 7 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0002RQ3LG
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Product Description

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. John Waters's Desperate Living takes on the air of a seedy, trash fairy tale as the humiliated residents of Mortville rise up against the queen and the cursed princess finds herself in a power struggle against her mother. Notable for the absence of Waters regular Divine, this movie pushes the rest of the cast to their over-the-top best. Fifties sex bomb Liz Renay has a great time as Muffy St. Jacques, half of the lesbian couple, and was still looking great by the '70s. The tumbledown sets of Mortville add a surreal touch to the movie, but Edith Massey steals every scene she's in as the hateful, repulsive Queen Carlotta. Note that the actors' breath is clearly visible in many scenes; it was filmed outdoors in a bitter Baltimore winter. Nasty, shabby, gross, and hilarious, this is John Waters at his best. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
In my opinion, John Water's movies have always been smarter on paper than most give him credit for. All of his work skewers the establishment was well as some of its offshoots and although intended to be shocking (in many instances just for the sake of being able to do so), my favorite moments generally involve the amazing Mink Stole and when John Waters in a very matter of fact fashion throws in something absolutely jaw-dropping as if it were just another scene.
On one hand you'll have people who will find Waters' early work to be too repulsive to watch and on the other extreme, you'll find others who worship his movies without any reservation and reject any critique as a sign that people just don't get it. My perspective is a little different as after watching Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living, my view is that while the ideas continue to be as fresh as they were made in the mid to late 1970's, his early work is much funnier when taken in little dozes rather than full length movies. Although, many may disagree I find Desperate Living to be his early best, while Female trouble is highly overrated. Pink Flamingos falls somewhere between the two.
There are scenes in Desperate Living that had me laughing so hard that I cried. In fact, the first half hour of the film is absolutely hilarious. Every scene involving Jean Hill who plays the hilarious Grizelda Brown and/or Mink Stole who plays the crazed Peggy Gravel, is a gag waiting to happen. There is a scene that takes place after something horrible happens (like I am going to tell you what happened) when Peggy is driving away with Grizelda that is worth the price of owning this movie. Said scene has Mink Stole going off like a madwoman regarding her hatred of nature, and it never fails to surprise me how funny she is.
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Format: VHS Tape
I guess you'd call Desperate Living the last of the earlier John Waters "gross out" cult classic films... He went a bit more mainstream after that (not to say that I don't like his new stuff... in fact, I dug Pecker and Cecil B. Demented majorly, but his newer stuff are simply "good movies", as opposed to "cult classics" by destiny.) - - The best way to describe Desperate Living (and I believe these are Waters' words paraphrased) is "a fairy tale for adults with the minds of children..." (well, moreso sick 12-14 year olds.) the story is as fun and entertaining as it is gross and disgusting... Getting to see Edith Massey in the roll of the evil queen and villian is also quite hillarious (especially if you've watched all his earlier films...) and getting to see what she does with the castle goons is even funnier... - - in my book however, the two most memorable scenes involve a cross dressing cop as well as a rather amusingly severed ding dong. Liz Renay, is also hillarious and really into her role... almost too much... in fact, its the sheer exhuberence of the actors in John Waters' films that make the films such a great watch... you can tell that he's definitely the type of guy that could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge (or atleast eat some poop off of it...) - - All in all, I'd have to say that along with Female Trouble its one of my favorite John Waters films... Whether you found Pink Flamingos funny or offensive, expect to laugh and puke at the same time... this is JW at his most sick and childishly best !
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Format: VHS Tape
With DESPERATE LIVING, the demented genius John Waters has come up with a movie almost on a par with his most notorious bad taste classic PINK FLAMINGOS. DESPERATE LIVING is best described as a warped contempory fairy tale with lashings of ketcupy gore (a homage to Herschell Gordon Lewis perhaps?).
Written and Directed by Waters, this stars Mink Stole as Peggy Gravel, a mentally unbalanced suburban housewife drivine to the brink of madness by her amorous children, cruel husband & their alcoholic maid Grizelda Brown (Jean Hill).
However after the chunkily built Grizelda murders Mr. Gravel by sitting on him & squashing him to death; she & Peggy go on the lam, crossing paths with a wacko cop who has a fetish for women's lingerie. He is also a chivalrous romantic who has a strange request to make of Peggy: "I'd like to stick my whole head in your mouth & let you suck out my eyeballs". Now there's a pick-up line that's guaranteed to work every time!
After escaping being assaulted by this crazed copper; Peggy & Grizelda wind up seeking refuge in a low rent village/slum called Mortville where they shack up with lesbian wrestler Mole (Susan Lowe) & her vulgar, trashy lover Muffy (Liz Renay); a disturbed individual whose leisure pursuits include driving a meat fork through her hand for fun. But alas their solitude proves to be short-lived, as the corrupt ruler of Mortville, Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey) has sent her guards out to arrest & execute all homosexuals; but they mistakenly arrest Peggy & Grizelda. Soon the repressed townspeople band together to stage a violent revolt against their revolting dictator & her submissive slave-servants.
As with all Waters early films, you will either find this to be absoutely hilarious or downright depraved. I am of the former mindset.
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