I present here a transfer of the 1982 VHS release of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, which despite it’s quality, is the only full, unmatted and unaltered version of this 1972 release.
Two home media releases of this film (Criterion’s 1997 Laserdisc & the 2005 DVD) both feature the 1997 25th Anniversary recut version, which features some great quality, but different music cues that had to be changed for issues relating to copyright infringement, as well as two different crops for the widescreen matte. See images below.
When it was released on VHS, the left and right of the frame had to be cropped to accommodate 1.33:1 for standard television at the time, yet they left the frame unmatted and did not have to change the original soundtrack (which features much sleazier and fitting sounding tunes than in the 1997 mix).
This is a historical piece of cinema that unfortunately has still not been given some good treatment as of yet. Perhaps the folks at Criterion or BFI will come to save the day eventually for a beautiful BD release, but until then, I wanted to give anyone who is interested a taste of what the unaltered, 1972 version may have looked like (though still cropped to 4:3).
I’ve transferred the 1982 Harmony Vision VHS to be available to view in a .MOV wrapper on a Quicktime player, VLC or whichever is preferred. The quality of the 1997 DVD is still the best, but I simply wanted to make this alternative version available for fellow fans and preservationists out there. Plus, this is also considering that the old VHS is hard to come by unless you’re willing to spend upwards to $100, which I think is downright criminal.
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1997 LD (Criterion):