Some films take a while to achieve cult status – “Beyond the Forest” and “Duel in the Sun” spring to mind-but word of mouth on “Showgirls” spread so fast that the MGM/UA film has the distinction of becoming a camp classic even before it opened.

At a media screening Sept. 21, the night before the film’s release, an industryite was heard to comment, “It’s really, really terrible. I’m seeing it for the second time.”

Of course the media loves to debate the commercial viability of an NC-17 rating, or what real showgirls think of the film.

Industryites, however, have other concerns. No one seems to be able to reach a consensus on the best musical number: the duet at the boat show; the lesbian/S& M/motorcycle number; or the topless, volcanic homage to “Staying Alive.”

And people are pondering their favorite character – the red-headed guy who supplies ice cubes and frets about everything (“Tony, she’s all pelvic thrust!”); the little girl who collapses into hysterical sobs upon hearing “the F-word”; or the laughing chubette who likes to make her breasts pop out of her dress.

But, next to speculating on the outcome of the O.J. trial, the most heated debate in Hollywood on people’s favorite line in “Showgirls.” The numerous contenders – at least those that can be quoted – include “The show goes on!”; “I used to love Doggie Chow too!”; “I chipped my tooth on a Quaalude”; “Here, blow your nose”; “That’s all right, I got towels!”; “You got more natural talent when you dance than anyone I’ve ever seen”; “Your father killed your mother then killed himself!”; and the much quoted “Must be weird not having anybody come on ya.”

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