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On this Day in Movie History, March 17, 1972 John Waters Pink Flamingo released

Pink Flamingoes movie poster
Public Domain

On this day in movie history, March 17, 1972, Pink Flamingos was released. An American transgressive black comedy exploitation film written, produced, composed, shot, edited, and directed by John Waters, produced on a budget of only $10,000, and shot mostly on weekends in Phoenix, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, it caused a huge degree of controversy due to the wide range of perverse acts performed in explicit detail.

Transvestism, black market babies, cannibalism, animal crushing, furniture licking, transgender sex, public indecency, the heroin trade — when it comes to the depiction of taboo subject matter, John Waters’ Pink Flamingos has it all.

After screenings at universities across the U.S. including Harvard College in 1973, the film was distributed theatrically by Saliva Films. and later by New Line Cinema and became a nationally known film. It has since become one of the most notorious films ever made and made an underground star of the flamboyant drag queen actor Divine. The film co-stars David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Danny Mills, Cookie Mueller, and Edith Massey.

Since its release it has had a rather devoted cult following and is one of Waters' most iconic films.

In 1997, upon its 25th anniversary of the 1972 premiere, the film was re-released. The new version featured an improved stereo soundtrack (which, unlike the original, was made available to the general public, on compact disc). After the end of the original film, the new version contained a brief video commentary by Waters, plus a few scenes cut from the original release. The re-release was rated NC-17 by the Motion Picture Association of America; this edition was later released on DVD.

The film came in at #29 on the list of 50 Films to See Before You Die on a show in the United Kingdom.

1913 - Frederick Brisson (producer: The Velvet Touch, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Generation, Mrs. Pollifax--Spy; died Oct 8, 1984)

1919 -Nat ‘King’ Cole (Nathaniel Adams Coles) (jazz pianist, bandleader: King Cole Trio; songwriter: Straighten Up and Fly Right; actor: St. Louis Blues; singer: Mona Lisa, Too Young, Unforgettable, Pretend, Ballerina, Ramblin’ Rose, The Christmas Song; actor: Cat Ballou; first black entertainer to host a national TV show; father of singer, Natalie Cole; died Feb 15, 1965)

1949 - Patrick Duffy (actor: Dallas, Man from Atlantis, Step-by-Step video with Suzanne Somers)

1951 - Kurt Russell (actor: Executive Decision, Backdraft, Elvis, Used Cars, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Tango & Cash, Stargate, Tombstone, 3000 Miles to Graceland)

1954 - Lesley-Anne Down (actress: Dallas, North and South: Book 2, Upstairs, Downstairs, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Great Train Robbery)

1964 - Rob (Robert Hepler) Lowe (actor: St. Elmo’s Fire, About Last Night, Suddenly, Last Summer, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Contact, Atomic Train, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The West Wing)

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