Retro: The Unquiet American


John Waters
USA 1988
92 min

John Waters’s 1988 musical comedy set in 1962 ­Baltimore represented a good many firsts for the ­celebrated underground “bad taste” writer-director-producer: his biggest budget, his first period foray, his first PG-rated movie, and his first real brush with politics – the issue of integrating a local TV dance show in Baltimore during the height of the civil rights movement. The cast includes Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Divine (in a dual role), Jerry Stiller, Ruth Brown, and cameo appearances by Ric Ocasek and Pia Zadora as beatniks. Not only Waters’s best movie, but a crossover gesture that expands his appeal ­without compromising his vision one iota; Ricki Lake as the hefty young heroine is especially delightful. With many arcane dance steps and hit singles from the period.
<![CDATA[<i>]]>(Chicago Reader)<![CDATA[</i>]]>

  • Jerry Stiller - Maury Ballstein
  • Deborah Harry
  • Mink Stole
  • Divine
  • Sonny Bono
  • Ruth Brown
  • Ricki Lake
  • Ric Ocasek
  • Pia Zadora
Rachel Talalay
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