Listen to our The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
Australian cinema had a real moment in the mid 90s. Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding, The Castle… it seemed barely a month went by before the land down under spawned another finely observed, brilliantly original comedy classic. Arguably though, none made quite as much of a splash as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Of all of the aforementioned movies, on paper Priscilla seemed like the least likely to be a major hit. It starred two relatively unknown Australian actors (Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving) plus ageing character actor Terrance Stamp. The three played a trio of drag queens – one of whom was also a transgendered woman – on a road trip across the Australian outback. The budget was minimal, and director Stephan Elliott had only made one previous film, a dark comedy starring Phil Collins that was almost entirely ignored on release.
Yet Priscilla became a sensation, winning an Academy Award for Best Costume, grossing almost $30 million worldwide and spawning a long-running stage musical – not to mention inspiring a generation of drag queens, thanks to the brilliant one-liners and jaw-dropping outfits of Bernadette Bassenger, Mitzi Del Bra and Felicia Jollygoodfellow.
In this week’s episode, we sharpen our nails and knock back some gin while discussing the flamboyant genius of Guy Pearce, the truly jaw-dropping lip sync performances, the problematic racial stereotyping and much more. We also pitch some Priscilla, Queen of the Desert drinking games and close with our own thoughts on where the story might go if the much-discussed sequel was ever able to get off the ground. Well, one of us does… Harry took a rather different route.
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Next week, we’ll be welcoming one of our Patreons to the show for the first time, to discuss a cult found-footage thriller that turned the superhero genre on its head and set its director up for a promising career that he’s subsequently spectacularly failed to deliver on. Until then, happy listening and remember – green is never your colour.