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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Shampoo (1975)

Set in Beverly Hills on election eve 1968, a hairdresser (Warren Beatty) juggles the women in his life while trying to raise the capital to start his own beauty salon. Directed by Hal Ashby, this is one of the seminal films of the 1970s before STAR WARS (1977) opened and changed Hollywood film making. As a romantic/sex farce, this is right up there with Renoir's RULES OF THE GAME and Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT. Despite the political setting (1968 was the year of Nixon's victory), the film doesn't hammer it at us. It's always there buzzing in the background as poor George (Beatty) grasping at straws tries to keep his head above the water when he's in over his head. But it's really the women who drive this movie: Julie Christie as Jack Warden's mistress, Goldie Hawn as Beatty's girlfriend, Lee Grant (in an Oscar winning performance) as Warden's wife and Carrie Fisher (in her film debut) as Warden's daughter. They're all so much more interesting than the shallow Beatty who's a rather sad (pathetic is too harsh) character. A pointed satire and a simply terrific film. With Tony Bill, Jay Robinson, Brad Dexter, Luana Anders, William Castle (yes, the director), George Furth and Joan Marshall.

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