1993 Costumes, Customs & Cultural Variance Comedy
When Bernice, a male woman (Terence Stamp) & 2 gay drag queens (Mitzi/Hugo Weaving & Adam/Guy Pearce) decide to travel together through the Australian desert, on a bus they christen, "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," it is indeed the story of one heck of an outback outrageously funny & yet real adventure.
Complete with the usual feisty tensions between a male woman, who views he/rself as fully woman, & 2 gay men drag queens, who view themselves as "cocks in frocks on rocks," these 3 head for a remote resort town in the Australian desert to put on a drag show. But, their bus breaks down out in the middle of no man's land.
It was Anthony "Tick"/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) who was invited to perform in Alice Springs, by his ex-wife who no one knows he has. Tick recruits flamingly gay young stud Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce) & the legendary actor playing a refined Bernadette (Terence Stamp) to join him. Mitzi, however, fails to disclose one important fact to his friends: he has a son by the ex-wife who invited them to perform in Alice Springs.
They didn't have to wait too long until a scruffy gentleman named Bob (Bill Hunter), a mechanic, invites them to his town until he can get the right parts to repair Priscilla. But, even after he does the repair work, the bus breaks down immediately. When Bob's mail order Asian bride goes nuts during a drag show the 3 stranded performers are putting on in a 'man's man' bar, Bob decides to take off through the desert traveling with them to Alice Springs.
As the 4r make their way through the desert, Mitzi is a little stressed because of all her suppressed secrets are about to be exposed. During their many days on the road, the trio lip-synch campy ABBA songs on the bus; Adam creates fabulous costumes that drive the understated lady Bernadette nuts; & they meet with a myriad of primarily prejudiced & violent gender & sexual supremacists along the way.
Though they are comfortable partying with friendly Aborigines, Adam gets drunk & takes some pills one evening; then, goes out in passable drag where the brawny men are boozing it up. There, s/he is confronted by hyper-judgmental men who hate drag queens. The demure Bernadette comes to Adam's rescue always having the graceful ability to put brutes & bullies in their place, either verbally or physically.
When they finally arrive at Alice Springs, Tick's ex-wife Mary is delighted to welcome him & his friends. She swears she will not take their young son to the drag shows, but she does & he loves them. Underlying the show's overt themes is the question: "what & who precisely makes up a family?" This show won an Oscar for Best Costumes in 1994. Buy this film, if for no other reasons, to view the best drag shows I've seen on mainstream film~
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