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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Dir: Stephan Elliot, 1994)
Lasseters Hotel Casino, Barrett Drive, Alice Springs
This film could easily be an advert for Australia. It covers some of the countries best landscape on a proper road trip from cosmopolitan Sydney to Alice Springs. I wasn’t originally going to include it because all the locations are named, mining towns, Coober Pedy (which I’m told translates to ‘white man down a hole’?) and Broken Hill are just as they appear in the film, as is the gay area of Sydney (Darlinghurst) and of course Alice Springs and Kings Canyon where a triumphant Bernadette performs her overture (and the famous line, ‘That’s just what this country needs, a cock in a frock on a rock’ is delivered.). But I wanted to add it to my list of the best locations because it’s such a great town and country juxtaposition that you almost need to check for yourself if the locations are really as rough as they seem… And they are. Broken Hill and Coober Pedy especially are amazing places to visit. The endless red desert I found I was almost expecting but that there would be towns of people really living out here was a bit of an eye opener. There is literally nothing for miles and miles around and there they are with their pub and cars covered in red dust, flat, single storey weatherboard houses, covered in red dust, barely there tarmac and hard stubbie (that’s beer) drinkers in stubbies (that’s shorts). I didn’t stay in Lasseters but I did have a drink in the bar and it’s not as backward as it looks in the film, lots of tourists know about it from the film and they now have a drag act once a month.
The best trivia about Pricilla is that in a lot of the scenes filmed while the bus is moving, crew members are hiding under the beds to stay out of shot. There is also rumour that the original script called for the Kings Canyon scene to be shot on Ayers Rock but the tribal owners wouldn’t have it, hence the cock in a frock on a rock line.