The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Did you know that Hugo Weaving looks great in a dress made of beach slippers?

with 11 comments

I never knew that you can make a dress consisting entirely of beach slippers. Even less did I imagine that the same dress would look gorgeous on Hugo Weaving.

Usually I don’t pay that much attention to movie costumes, but in the case of The Adventure of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert it’s hard not to.

In an interview the director Stephan Elliot reveals that the dresses fell apart as soon as the shooting of the film was over. Due to budget restrictions they were hold together by means such as scotch tape and string. But this didn’t stop the designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner from getting the Oscar award the award for best costume design in 1995.

Apart from being a vehicle for dress designing, this film also tells the story about two drag queens and a transsexual who contract to perform a drag show at remote resort in Australia. We follow them as they’re traveling in a pink tour bus, performing in villages on their way, causing reactions ranging from rage and horror to devotion.

It’s the kind of movie that puts you in a good mood, and not only thanks to the bright and colorful dresses. Of course the trio will face some challenges during their journey through the desert, but there’s never any doubt where the trip is heading. You’ll end up with a smile on your face, a light heart and inspiration to be yourself, even if it means dressing up in a dress of slippers.

Before anyone mentions it I admit that there are moments when the humor falls into the cheap, clichéd and awkward territory, which I’ve seen previously in other Australian movies like Muriel’s Wedding. But when you’re so charmed by everything else about the film, it’s easy to overlook and forgive. The sight of the trio of Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp performing a drag dance to Mamma Mia is irresistible.

If you can’t stomach hearing I Survive yet another time and if you find the idea of a hat that looks like an ostrich more appalling than fun, this movie might not be for you. But for the rest of us it offers a temporary cure from the melancholia of the season

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliot, AUS, 1994) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

November 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

11 Responses

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  1. Very nice post, as always, Jess! 🙂

    fernandorafael

    November 19, 2012 at 1:43 am

    • Oh, and Hugo Weaving in drag looks a bit like Uma Thurman, don’t you think?

      fernandorafael

      November 19, 2012 at 1:54 am

      • Thanks Fernando! And yes, now that you’re mentioning it…

        Jessica

        November 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

  2. Praise to an Australian film, I am impressed, even if almost two decades after it was made. Maybe I should watch it again. I did love it the first time round.

    Science Guru

    November 19, 2012 at 1:53 am

    • It’s not the first Aussie movie I write about. Right away I can recall praising Animal Kingdom. But I’m sure there are more good ones out there. Feel free to tip me off!

      Jessica

      November 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  3. I knew the movie the minute I saw the title. That is my absolute favorite outfit in the film!

    SJHoneywell

    November 19, 2012 at 3:59 am

    • It’s definitely a dress you won’t forget anytime soon after seeing it!

      Jessica

      November 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  4. Love this film loads!! So glad you enjoyed it too Jessica

    • Yay Scott! Glad to hear we’re on the same page about this one!

      Jessica

      November 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

  5. Once again you hit the nail on the head — Priscilla is another of my gems. Stamp is so hilariously unable to take single step timed to the music 🙂

    Sofia

    November 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

    • I don’t think they’d hire him for the dance ensamble in Magic Mike, that’s for sure. 🙂

      Jessica

      November 20, 2012 at 11:31 am


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