- Movie Rating -

Lust in the Dust (1985)

| March 1, 1985

Lust in the Dust needed a lot of work.  Roles needed to be shifted, the narrative needed to be re-organized and the whole idea needed re-thinking.  Moreover, it is a camp send-up that really needed John Waters and his special brand of sleazo theatrics.  Under the direction of Paul Bartel, it feels aimless, like the scenes were constructed and settled on without purpose and without style.

Waters might have given the movie what it needed, the 300-pound transvestite Divine in the lead instead of a supporting role.  The lead is occupied here by Tab Hunter who seems to drain the movie’s energy, playing a Clint Eastwood/Man With No Name-type who can’t be bothered to really give a performance.  He’s there, he’s okay I guess, but he feels more like an ancillary player than the star.

Lust in the Dust a western parody of any number of Z-grade westerns, but our brains immediately begin having flashbacks to Blazing Saddles which more or less wrote the final word on the western comedy.  From now until the end of time, every movie in this genre will fall in its shadow.  Few will succeed.  Least of all is this movie, which offers campiness into the mixture.  Tab Hunter is in the Clint Eastwood role as the drifter Able Wood.  Divine is Rosie Velaz a loner who comes straggling into town with dreams of being a saloon singer.  And the invaluable Lainie Kazan is the brassy Marguerita Ventura.

All of these characters look interesting, but there is never anything really interesting for them to do.  Bartel employs a plot halfway through about a treasure map, but we’re not interested.  We want him to light a fire under this material, send it into comic orbit.  I mean, come on!  With these three talents there are endless possibilities.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy