Cry-Baby (1990) is a teen musical film directed by John Waters. It stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel "Cry-Baby" Wade Walker, and also features an expansive cast that includes Iggy Pop, Traci Lords, Ricki Lake, David Nelson, Susan Tyrrell and Patty Hearst. This film did not achieve high audience numbers in its initial release but has subsequently become a cult classic and spawned a hit Broadway musical that was nominated for some Tony Awards.
The second mainstream feature by John Waters, following Hairspray, the film is a parody of teen musicals such as Grease, of Elvis Presley movies, and of 1950s 'juvenile delinquent' movies such as The Wild One and (specifically) Rebel Without a Cause. (Johnny Depp has said more than once that he took the role to poke fun at the teen-idol hysteria surrounding him during his days on the TV show 21 Jump Street.) It centers on a group of delinquents named the Drapes and their interaction with the rest of the town and its other subculture, the Squares, in 1950s Baltimore, Maryland.
"Cry-Baby" Walker, a Drape, and Allison, a Square, create upheaval and turmoil in their town by breaking the subculture taboos and falling in love. The movie shows what the young couple have to overcome to be together and how their actions affect the rest of the town.
Part of the film takes place at the now-closed Enchanted Forest amusement park in Ellicott City, Maryland.
The film is rated PG-13 in the United States. It was Waters' second mainstream Hollywood picture, after his earlier R- and X-rated independent films. (His first mainstream movie was the PG-rated Hairspray.)
In a parody
of 1950's musicals, "Cry-Baby" Wade Walker
. He and his gang, disfigured "Hatchet-Face" Malnorowski, pregnant sister Pepper, Hatchet's boyfriend Milton Hackett, and sexually active Wanda Woodward, are the fear in most Baltimore residents' lives. One day after school, after getting an intense polio vaccine
, Cry-Baby falls in love with Allison Vernon-Williams
, a pretty "Square" equally in love with him. But Allison's grandmother and boyfriend Baldwin are disgusted by her love for Cry-Baby. Cry-Baby and Allison use their love to bring the Squares and Drapes together.
Songs sung by characters
- "Sh-Boom" - Baldwin and the Whiffles
- "A Teenage Prayer" - Allison
- "King Cry-Baby" - Cry-Baby, Allison, Hatchet-Face, Milton, Pepper, and Wanda
- "Teardrops Are Falling" - Cry-Baby and Prisoners
- "The Naughty Lady from Shady Lane" - Baldwin and the Whiffles (not on soundtrack, only in Director's Cut DVD)
- "Doin' Time for Bein' Young" - Cry-Baby and Prisoners
- "Mr. Sandman" - Baldwin and the Whiffles
- "Please, Mr. Jailer" - Allison, Cry-Baby, and Company
- "High School Hellcats" - Cry-Baby, Allison, and Company
Songs sung by other artists
- "Cry-Baby" - The Honey Sisters
- "Nosey Joe" - Bull Moose Jackson
- "Bad Boy" - The Jive Bombers
- "The Flirt" - Shirley and Lee
- "I'm So Young" - The Students
- "(My Heart Goes) Piddily Patter, Patter" - Nappy Brown
- "I'm a Bad, Bad Girl" - Little Esther
- "Jungle Drums" - Earl Bostic
- "Cherry" - The Jive Bombers
- "Rubber Biscuit" - The Chips
Songs not included in the soundtrack
- "Gee" - The Crows
- "Women and Cadillacs" - Doc Starkes and his Nite Riders
- "The Bunny Hop" - Ray Anthony
- "In the Jailhouse Now" - Webb Pierce
- "Jailbird" - Sonny Knight
The USA cable network version of the movie has a few extra scenes, including a couple extra songs,
- "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane"
- "Pistol Packin' Mama" - Al Dexter (Performed by The Hurricanes)
The original cut which is only available on video is rated PG-13 whilst the director's cut
DVD is unrated and adds an extra 6 minutes to the original cut (85 minutes).
- The two F-words used by Wanda's parents are unbleeped.
- There is extra dialogue between Wanda, her parents, and the foreign exchange student Inga (includes Wanda's "boys with roamin' hands and rushin' fingers!")
- Toe-Joe Jackson gets more dialogue at Turkey Point.
- Hatchet-Face's parents are selling cigarettes to students outside the high school (also present in TV version)
- An air raid drill at the RSVP charm school.
- Baldwin and the Whiffles get an extra song called "The Naughty Lady from Shady Lane" which they sing in their march to Allison's house.
- Extra footage of Cry-Baby riding his motorcycle to the charm school and a cop pursuing him.
- Allison gets a third verse for her song "A Teenage Prayer".
- Extra footage of Hatchet-Face chasing Susie Q. and Snare-Drum through the Rickettes' yard.
opened on April 6, 1990 in 1,229 North American cinemas — an unprecedented number for a John Waters film. In its opening weekend, it grossed a soft $3,004,905 ($2,445 per screen) and grossed only $8,266,343 by the end of its theatrical run, thus not recouping the estimated $12 million budget. However, thanks to the presence of Johnny Depp, Cry-Baby
has since proven lucrative on television, video, and DVD.
Screen to stage
is the second of Waters' films to be adapted for the stage as a musical comedy (following Hairspray).
It was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse
(California) as part of their 2007 season, as well as shadow-cast at the Nuart Theatre
by Sins O' the Flesh.
The stage musical's world premiere occurred at the La Jolla Playhouse on November 6, 2007, running until December 16, 2007. The book is by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan and the music is by Adam Schlesinger with lyrics by David Javerbaum. The musical is directed by Mark Brokaw with choreography by Rob Ashford. The cast includes Harriet Harris, Carly Jibson, Elizabeth Stanley (as Allison), and James Snyder as Cry-Baby.
It began previews on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on March 15, 2008, with an official opening on April 24, 2008.
Cry-Baby was nominated for 4 Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography), winning none.
It closed June 22, 2008 on Broadway, after playing 45 preview performances and 68 regular performances. A national tour is planned for Fall 2009.