Sunday, May 25, 2014

PINK FLAMINGOS (1972)

Although THE GODFATHER might have won the Academy Award for Best Picture, everybody knows the best film from 1972 is PINK FLAMINGOS.  Made for less than $12,000 and filmed only using friends and friends of friends as his cast and crew writer/director/editor/narrator/cinematographer/producer John Waters somehow ended up with one of the most unique masterpieces in film history.

After learning that Divine has been named "the filthiest person alive" by an tabloid newspaper, an outrageous couple, Connie and Raymond Marble, become insanely jealous and set out to destroy Divine by outfilthing her.  As the film begins, Divine is unaware of the Marble's evil plot and is living a happy life out in the country with her family: her mother who lives in a baby crib and eats eggs all day, her Manson-like son Crackers and her traveling companion Cotton.  One day Crackers brings home a woman to have sex with out in the chicken shed for the entertainment of Cotton, but it ends up the woman is a spy for the Marbles.  Now that they know where Divine lives the Marbles openly declare war by mailing her a turd.  Things only escalate from there.

That might not sound like the plot to one of the greatest movies of all time, but it is.  Being a great film isn't all about slick production values and high budgets.  A truly great film can also be about sincerity, hard-work, uniqueness, talent and the ability to entertain an audience.  PINK FLAMINGOS has a wealth of all of those things.  Yeah, it is extremely rough around the edges and it looks like it was made on a tight budget by a bunch of amateurs, but that's part of the film's charm.  Long takes with a wandering camera, bad sound, over-acting, cheap-looking sets and make-up...all of these things are part of what makes PINK FLAMINGOS perfect.

Over the years I've seen PINK FLAMINGOS dozens upon dozens of times and last night watching it again I was completely blown away by how wonderful this film is.  I smiled from the first words of Waters opening narration all the way to the infamous ending.  And I still had to "Ahhhh!!!" in horror at a couple of the more shocking scenes even though they are ingrained in my memory.  I cannot even imagine how the initial unexpecting audiences must have reacted back in 1972.  The theater must have been exploding with emotions!

I've seen more low budget exploitation films from the 60's and 70's than you can shake a dog turd at and none of them has the magic of PINK FLAMINGOS.  Truly one of the greatest films of all time.  Thank you John Waters and everybody else involved.