Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) [DVD], The

Stephan Elliott
Terence Stamp as a drag queen--an Aussie drag queen? Darling, you'd better believe it. In Stephan Elliott's delirious exercise in ultra-camp meets outback macho, Stamp plays an ageing trans-sexual who, with two of his equally high-glossed pals, heads off for a cabaret engagement in Alice Springs. Priscilla is their chosen vehicle, a school bus painted an outrageous purple. The culture-clash comedy that ensues is none too unpredictable: the local Ockers, initially contemptuous, soon find the spangled and bewigged trio can out-talk, out-drink and if necessary, out-punch them; everything ends in a warm glow of mutual tolerance and appreciation. Elliott maybe hits the feelgood button a little too hard, but it's impossible not to be swept along by the sheer brash energy of the film. The bitchy dialogue snaps and crackles, the costumes and Fellini-esque dance numbers are to die for, and Stamp and Co.--enjoying themselves no end--play the whole thing to the hilt and some way beyond it. --Philip Kemp


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