Skip to main content

CRY-BABY

USA, 1990 (MIFF 1990)

Director: John Waters

John Waters' latest celebration of pop cultural timespin hurls us joyously back into mid-fifties small-town Americana. Baltimore, 1954, to be precise. America is in the process of discovering rock'n'roll, black leather jackets, pompadours, pegged jeans, flashy cars, skintight sweaters over bullet bras, and so on.

It's against this kitschily crazed milieu that John Waters stages a rockabilly Romeo and Juliet story - where Wade "Cry Baby" Walker (Johnny Depp), a handsome teen hep cat falls for Alison Vernon-Williams (Amy Locane), a very straight and very innocent rich girl.

Alison's a Square, with all the properly right angles, while Wade's definitely a gang-warring Drape from the wild and wrong side of the tracks. Lifestyle ethics and highly coded fashion colours clash in a marvellous, torrid, pulsatingly musical romance. Amidst the kaleidoscope of comic-strip bright characters are Ricki Lake (star of Waters' Hairspray) as hefty gang girl Pepper; rock legend Iggy Pop as Belvedere, keeper of the Skull House; Waters regular Mink Stole, as Gerti Malnorowski; Andy Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro as Reverend (!) Hackett. The fusion of these way-off-centre "underground" talents with more mainstream favourites like Troy Donahue, David Nelson (Ozzie's eldest son), Polly Bergen and an unclassifiable "new" star, Patty Hearst, ail reinforce the movie's theme of daring to be different, to transgress, to cross over all barriers - which, of course, is exactly what Waters, (creator and auteur of the cult series of Divine movies), has accomplished himself, in an irresistibly enjoyable and affectionate pastiche which is being hailed by Bill Cosford in the Miami Herald as "the best movie musical since Cabaret. Seriously!" Your bound to get wet over Cry-Baby.

"Cry-Baby has true madness; it's like an epic teen opera by some mutant pop Berlioz."
- Jack Kroll, Newsweek

- (PKe)

See also...

A DIRTY SHAME

Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman) is your average prudish suburban mother, until one day she suffers a wallop on the head. With this, she transmutes into a raunchy erotomaniac. It was tow-truck driver ... More »

Post No Bills

Robbie Conal is an artist who sneaks about at night with a broom and a bucket of glue. He has a healthy disrespect for most politicians and celebrities, and is keen to show his art outside galleries ... More »

RESIDENT ALIEN

Marginal victim, superstar, homosexual icon, dandy; which ever way you wish to describe him, Quentin Crisp remains one of the greatest and most fascinating British inventions of the last millenium ... More »

CHRISTO IN PARIS

The date was September 22, 1985, when environmental artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude completed what had been their ten-year obsession; "The Pont Neuf Wrapped." For fourteen days, 440,000 ... More »

And Then There Was Voyager

In any future book on the history of space exploration this century, the Voyager mission will undoubtedly form the main chapter. The launch of Voyager in 1977 was the highpoint of the US space ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director