CRY BABY | JOHNNY DEPP IN JOHN WATERS’ ’50S HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS CULT CLASSIC

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“John Waters’ musical ode to the teen rebel genre is infectious and gleefully camp, providing star Johnny Depp with the perfect vehicle in which to lampoon his pin-up image.” –Roger Ebert. Well said. Depp has always deftly embraced ironic roles to deflect the trappings of his undeniable handsome-as-hell looks. 21 Jump Street definitely had the potential to pigeon-hole his career, had he been a lesser actor.

Cry Baby would go on to become a cult classic, due largely to the pouty lipped, chiseled face of a young Johnny Depp in his physical prime, and on a Harley to boot. (They used a Sportster and K model, both red, that they swapped a few times in the film apparently with the thought that it would go mostly unnoticed.) For me the enduring 1950s aesthetic is always a draw, and Waters’ witty one-liners are priceless. And let’s not forget the interest that was stirred up back then by the young and sultry Traci Lords. It was her first non-nude screen role following her controversial (not to mention highly illegal) underage porn career that was still hot on everyone’s tongues and minds.

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7 thoughts on “CRY BABY | JOHNNY DEPP IN JOHN WATERS’ ’50S HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS CULT CLASSIC

  1. A lot of people don’t realize this, but when Johnny Depp opens his mouth to sing in this flick, it’s the voice of a guy named James Intveld that comes out. He’s a tremendous talent in his own right, a great songwriter. He came here to my native Louisville years ago, just after he put out his first album. The shitheel who booked the show didn’t promote it at all because he had a show across town with one of those Red Hot Atomic Swingin’ Devil Daddies bands that was all the rage in the late 90′s, and he wanted them to get big instead. My date and I were the only people in the audience. He said “Well Rocko, what do you want to hear?” And I said “How about some of that Cry-Baby stuff?” and he said “I don’t really do Cry-Baby stuff.” And I said “C’mon, who’s it gonna hurt, do some Cry-Baby stuff.” And he said “The band doesn’t know it.” So I said “OK, how about ‘Cryin’ Over You’” and he said “OK, you got it.” He played two full sets for us, a real class act.

  2. James Intveld played guitar with The Blasters for a while, saw them at this time and he was pretty good. I believe that The Cramps were asked to do some songs for the soundtrack but for some reason it didn’t come off. The songs were released as the Crybaby Suite on a 12″ single.
    King Of The Drapes
    Teenage Rage
    High School Hellcats

  3. Great movie, great soundtrack. I wondered what happened to Hatchet Face, AKA Kim McGuire; she’s now an entertainment lawyer. Movie critics’ descriptions of Hatchet Face are hilarious, one said she resembled “a Cubist poster-child”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_McGuire

    I saw Cry Baby in a theater when it was released, a few of Johnny Depp’s teenybopper fans were two rows behind me. I don’t think they knew about John Waters, their most common remark was “ewww!”

  4. Rocko Jerome you are correct James Intveld is the voice of Cry Baby. I have seen him here in LA several times. He was frequently playing a little bar in Burbank over the past couple of years. I also saw him in the late 90′s at a place called Linda’s Doll Hut in Anaheim. If I remember correctly James brother was on the plane with Rick Nelson when he died. JP needs to do an article on Mr. Intveld!

  5. I bought this movie on a whim, having vaguely remembered the publicity when it came out, mainly for having Tracy Lords in it. The name John Waters sounded familiar- had I known exactly what he was famous for, I might not have bought the DVD. Johnny Depp had nothing to do with my purchase as I feel he is the most overrated actor who ever lived. So why did I buy it off the five dollar rack? A weakness for motorcycles, motorcycle jackets, engineer boots and old cars. Luckily, the movie is pretty entertaining. By the way, does anyone know what kind of jacket that is that Depp wears? I have never found one with the exact same features his has.

  6. Axel, I have a jacket exactly like that one. The one I have has a Harley Davidson label in it. Don’t know who actually made it but I bought it from a Harley dealership in Houston Texas back in 82 or 83.

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