John Waters’ wickedly funny film Polyester, starring Divine and Tab Hunter, will be given the deluxe Criterion Collection treatment. Resplendent in Harlequin Romance-style cover artwork, this Director-approved special edition includes new added value and will be available in September.
For his first studio picture, filth maestro John Waters took advantage of his biggest budget yet to allow his muse Divine to sink his teeth into a role unlike any he had played before: Baltimore housewife Francine Fishpaw, a heroine worthy of a Douglas Sirk melodrama. Blessed with a keen sense of smell and cursed with a philandering pornographer husband, a parasitic mother, and a pair of delinquent children, the long-suffering Francine turns to the bottle as her life falls apart—until deliverance appears in the form of a hunk named Todd Tomorrow (vintage heartthrob Tab Hunter). Enhanced with Odorama™ technology that enables you to scratch and sniff along with Francine, Polyester is one of Waters’ most hilarious inventions, replete with stomach-churning smells, sadistic nuns, AA meetings, and foot stomping galore.
The film was a hit with audiences and critics alike. Richard Corliss from Time Magazine wrote, “‘Polyester’ offers more honest laughs than “Airplane’… Odorama is a wondrous screen gimmick.” Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, “A very funny movie with a hip, stylized humor.” The film currently rates 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yes, the Scratch-and-Sniff Odorama cards will be included in the Criterion release. With the tagline, “Smelling is Believing,” the cards featured several noxious scents: farts, gasoline, dirty shoes, skunk. among them. Additional Special Edition Features include: a new, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, new conversation between Waters and critic Michael Musto, new program featuring interviews with Waters collaborators Tab Hunter, Dennis Dermody, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Mink Stole, Mary Garlington, and Greer Yeaton, interviews from 1993 with cast and crew members Waters, Divine, Moran, Peranio, Edith Massey, and Van Smith, deleted scenes and alternate takes and much more.
Criterion previously released Waters/Divine classics “Multiple Maniacs” and “Female Trouble.”
The Blu-ray and DVD will be released September 17. Until then, here’s the theatrical trailer.