Thursday, January 16, 2014

SHAMPOO 1975

Watch. Rinse. Repeat.
I don’t know of any other film in my collection of heavy-rotation favorites that has undergone as many transformations of perception for me as Shampoo. It seems as though every time I see it, I’m at a different stage in my life; each new set of life circumstances yielding an entirely different way of looking at this marvelously smart comedy.

Shampoo has been described as everything from a socio-political sex farce to a satirical indictment of American moral decay as embodied by the disaffected Beautiful People of Los Angeles, circa 1968. Taking place over the course of 24 hectic hours in the life of a womanizing Beverly Hills hairdresser (Terrence McNally’s The Ritz mined laughs from the improbability of a gay garbage man; Towne & Beatty do the same with its not-as-funny-as-it-thinks-it-is heterosexual hairdresser running gag), Shampoo chronicles the petty crises, joyless bed-hopping, and self-centered betrayals (if, indeed betrayal is possible between individuals incapable of committing to anyone or anything) amongst a particularly shallow sampling of the denizens of The City of Angels.
Nixon's the One
Four people, each with their own agenda. Five if you count the smiling portrait in the background

The film takes place in and around Election Day 1968, and, fueled by our foreknowledge of what Nixon’s Presidency portended for America with its attendant undermining of the nation’s moral fiber and erosion of political faith; Shampoo attempts - not wholly successfully- to draw parallels to the decline of the country’s political awareness and optimism of the 60s by training its lens on a group of characters who can’t stop looking into mirrors or get their collective heads out of their own asses long enough to take notice of anything around them that doesn't impact their lives personally. No one in the film even votes!
Warren Beatty as George Roundy
Julie Christie as Jackie Shawn
Goldie Hawn as Jill Haynes
Lee Grant as Felicia Karpf
Jack Warden as Lester Karpf
Aging lothario and preternatural adolescent, George (Beatty), is the most popular hairdresser at the Beverly Hills salon where he plies his trade, but sensing time passing, feels the pang of wishing he had done more with his life. George’s ambition is to open a place of his own, but the not-very-bright beautician routinely undermines his long-term success by allowing himself to become distracted by the short-term gratification offered by the easy sex that got him into the hairdressing business in the first place. Juggling a girlfriend (Hawn), a former girlfriend (Christie), a client (Grant), that client’s teenage daughter (Carrie Fisher, making her film debut), all while trying to negotiate financing of the salon from said client’s cuckolded husband (Jack Warden); George find himself in way over his pouffy, Jim Morrison-tressed head. 
Directed by Hal Ashby (Harold & Maude), Shampoo is really the brainchild and creative collaboration of two of Hollywood’s most legendary tinkerers: Warren Beatty and screenwriter Robert Towne (although a Julie Christie biography credits her with bringing to Warren's attention the 1675 restoration comedy, The Country Wife and it serving as the real genesis of Shampoo). Depending on the source from which one gets one’s information, Shampoo - which underwent nearly 8-years of rewrites and countless hours of on-set nitpicking - was inspired as much by Beatty's own exploits as Hollywood’s leading man-slut, as that of the life of late hairdresser-to-the-stars, Jay Sebring (a victim of the Manson family that fateful night in 1969. Beatty was Sebring’s client for a time), and celebrity hairstylist Gene Shacove (who is given a technical consultant credit for Shampoo, but who I mainly know from a 1956 lawsuit filed against him by TV personally/cult figure, Vampira, claiming he burned her hair off with one of his dryers). Even hairdresser-to-producer Jon Peters (Eyes of Laura Mars) weighed in, claiming the film was inspired by his life.
Blow Job
(It strikes me as the height of irony and the biggest testament to the absolutely stupefying superficiality of the Hollywood/Beverly Hills set satirized in Shampoo, that so many men clamored to be credited with being the inspiration for George. A character depicted - if one is actually watching the film and not just getting off on the number of ladies bedded -  as a selfish, shallow, narcissistic, slow-witted, self-disgusted loser.)
I saw Shampoo nearly a year after its release (I fell in love with the movie poster and bought it long before I even saw the film), but remember distinctly what a huge, huge hit it was. I mean, lines around the block, rave reviews, lots of word of mouth, and endless articles hailing/criticizing it for its frank language and (by 70s standards) outrageous humor. It's popularity even spawned an exploitation film titled, Black Shampoo, which I've yet to see, but I hear features a chainsaw showdown with the mob. Anyhow, Shampoo is a marvelous film, to be sure, but in hindsight, I think a sizable amount of the hoopla surrounding it can be attributed to two things:

1) The The Sandpiper Factor.  In 1965 audiences made a hit out of that sub-par Taylor/Burton vehicle chiefly because it offered the voyeuristic thrill of seeing the world’s most famous illicit lovers playing illicit lovers. The same held true for Shampoo. In 1975, audiences were willing to pay money to speculate about the similarities between Shampoo’s skirt-chasing antihero and Warren Beatty’s reputation as a Hollywood ladies’ man. That the film featured on-and-off girlfriend Julie Christie; former affair, Goldie Hawn (so alleges ex-husband, Bill Hudson); and future girlfriend, Michelle Phillips, only further helped to fuel gossip and sell tickets. 

2) Pre-Bicentennial jitters. Shampoo was released at the beginning of 1975.Three years after the Watergate Scandal broke, one year after Nixon’s impeachment, and just three months before the official end of the Vietnam War. As the flood of “Crisis of Confidence in America” movies of 1976 proved (Nashville, Taxi Driver, Network, All the President’s Men, etc.) movie audiences were more than primed for anything reaffirming their suspicion that America’s values were in serious need of reexamination. 
Carrie Fisher (making her film debut)as Lorna Karpf
In 1975 this line got a HUGE laugh. Her other famous line got a HUGE gasp
I found Shampoo to be a funny, well-written and superbly-acted look at the spiritual cost of the "free love" movement of the 60s. It is a witty, intelligent, and keenly observed comedy of manners. What it never was to me was a particularly profound political satire. The election night stuff, the TVs and radios blaring ignored campaign speeches and election returns...none of it gelled for me as an ironic statement deeper than America's apathy helped put a man like Nixon into office. I'm not saying that others haven't found the subtext to be appropriately weighty, I just find it significant that over the years I've encountered many people who love Shampoo, but only dimly recall any of the political references (or even the death of an unseen character).
In Shampoo's most talked-about scene, Rosemary's Baby producer, William Castle, chats up Julie Christie, while to Beatty's left sits character actress, Rose Michtom. Fans of Get Smart will recognize Rose from her 44 appearances on that TV show (one of the executive producers was her nephew). A curious tid-bit: she's the daughter of the inventor of the Teddy Bear (!), and even has a website devoted to her Get Smart appearances.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS FILM
Movies about unsympathetic people are not always my thing, but I do admit to being a sucker for a film that taps into a reality I’ve found to be true: that a great many distasteful people don’t like themselves much more than I do. What I love about Shampoo is that it is one of those rare films which showcases the lives of the rich and privileged, yet at the same time is able to convey a sense of hollowness and self-disappointment at the core of each of its characters. And in a comedy yet! It’s a subtle, extremely difficult thing to do (talk to Martin Scorsese about The Wolf of Wall Street), but it gives characters you might otherwise loathe, a sense of humanity. They become individuals whom I can both identify with and understand…if not necessarily like. I think the award-winning screenplay by Towne / Beatty is absolutely brilliant. An early draft of which I read, even more so, as it fleshed out the friendship between Jackie and Jill even more.
Producer/director Tony Bill  plays TV commercial director, Johnny Pope
PERFORMANCES
OK, I’ll get this out of the way from the top: Julie Christie is absolutely amazing in this movie (surprise!).  Not only does she look positively stunning throughout (even with that odd hairdo, which I've never been quite sure was supposed to be funny or not) but she brings a sad, resigned pragmatism to her rather hard character. A character not unlike Darling’s selfish Diana Scott.  Whatever one thinks about her performance, I think everyone can agree that stupendous face of hers is near-impossible not to get lost in.
You Had One Eye in the Mirror as You Watched Yourself Gavotte
One of my favorite things in Shampoo is the way the characters are perpetually captured checking themselves out in mirrors; even in the middle of serious discussions or arguments. 
Lee Grant's voracious-out-of-boredom Beverly Hills housewife won Shampoo's only acting Oscar, and nominated Jack Warden really deserved to win (his is perhaps the film's strongest performance) but I think Goldie Hawn is especially good. Comedic Hawn is great, but serious Hawn has always been my favorite. The scenes of her character's dawning awareness of what kind of man she's allowed herself to fall in love with are genuinely touching, and among the best work she's ever done. Not to overuse a word bandied about in Shampoo with vacant casualness, but Hawn is great.
As Shampoo's most sympathetic character, from her early scenes as a ditsy blond to the latter ones revealing a clear-eyed defiant strength, Hawn shows considerable range.
THE STUFF OF FANTASY
Shampoo is peppered with celebrity cameos and walk-ons. All adding to the feeling that this isn't a period film taking place in 1968 (in many ways the period detail in Shampoo leaves a lot to be desired) so much as a 1975 tabloid-inspired Warren Beatty roman à clef.
Michelle Phillips
Susan Blakely
Andrew Stevens
Howard Hesseman
Jaye P. Morgan
Joan Marshall, aka Jean Arless from William Castle's Homicidal, aka Mrs. Hal Ashby

THE STUFF OF DREAMS
Shampoo over the years
1975- First time I was a sex-obsessed teenager (and virgin). Beatty seemed old to me at the time, so I didn’t fully understand how a fully-grown man could allow his life to unravel around him due to an inability to keep it in his pants. What did I know?

1983- OK, let’s put it this way; at this stage of my life I “got” the whole sex thing in Shampoo. Also, I was I was living in Los Angeles by this point, so not only had the film’s satirical jibes at Los Angeles “culture” grown funnier, they became perceptive.
1990- Throughout the 80s and 90s, I worked as a dancer, an aerobics instructor, and a personal trainer in Los Angeles. If you have even a tangential familiarity with any of these professions, you’ll understand why, at this stage, Shampoo started to take on the look of a documentary for me. In fact, I came to know several George Roundys over the years. Straight men drawn to these largely female-centric professions, aimiable, screw-happy, and more than willing to reap the benefits of working all day around women and being in the sexual-orientation minority where males were concerned. All of them exhibited behavior so identical to that attributed to the George character in Shampoo, I gained renewed respect for the accuracy of Towne and Beatty’s screenplay.
Today- I’m happily in my late 50s (I happy about it, not ecstatic); nearly 20 years into a committed; loving relationship; thankful and gratified by the journey of growth my life has been and continues to be. When I look at Shampoo now, I watch it with an empathy toward its characters I don’t believe I had when I was younger. Who knew then that so much in the film referenced growing up? (Jill's harangue at George, Jackie being surprised that an old hippie friend is still throwing the same kind of parties). 
I think what I now know that I couldn’t have known in my 20s or 30s, is the profound emptiness of these people’s lives. Never having been in love before, I didn’t know what I was missing. Now I understand how wonderful a thing it is to be that close to someone... to trust someone that much...to be able to share a life; and how terrifying and disappointing life can feel without it.
Especially when one faces the realization - at middle age, yet - that the very life choices one has made so casually in one’s youth (the lack of introspection, the inattention to character, kindness, or concern for others) have consequences that can render one incapable of ever attaining it.
It's too late...
Jackie checks to makes sure her future is still secure with Lester as George confesses his vulnerability
Shampoo is still amusing to me, but its comedy has more a wistful quality about it. One full of regret and remorse over time wasted, and the bitterness of realizing where one is after years of living, as Socrates wrote "the unexamined life." Shampoo to me is a film that mourns the loss of 60s optimism (the use of The Beach Boy song, Wouldn’t it be Nice? is truly inspired) and stares out through a smoggy sky at a future that, at east in 1975, must have looked pretty hopeless.

Copyright © Ken Anderson

31 comments:

  1. As usual, a captivating and intriguing write-up. One thing that always sort of stuck in my craw about "Shampoo" is that while it supposedly takes place in 1968, it seems to me to be just barely there, coming off as far more 1975-ish but for a few cars and wigs. I know there isn't a big span of time difference from '68 to '75, but there was an awful lot of clothing and styling shifts in that time. But you are right that Hawn is great, Christie is arresting to look at and so on. Of course I happen to be a big Lee Grant fan, so it was always a must see movie for me when I was finally able to get my hands on it. (I was actually quite shocked to find that you are in your late-'50s! You seem far younger than that in www terms! Ha! I thought you were just a couple of years older than me.)

    There's still another story about "Shampoo's" creation and that is that writer Robert Towne and writer-director Hal Ashby utilized personal details from the life of Ashby's then-wife Joan Marshall in the script, which she later grew to resent. (She appears as a beauty shop customer in the early part of the movie and was probably best-known for her unforgettable starring role in William Castle's "Homicidal.")

    Anyway, once again it was a great read! :-)

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    1. Hi Poseidon (and thank you very much!)
      I'm with you in never being fully swayed by "Shampoo"s evocation of the 60s. Anthea Sylbert (Rosemary's Baby) did the costumes, and in Goldie Hawn's comically abbreviated minis she hits the right stride, but the film forever looks to me like a contemporary 70s movie.
      Beatty and crew were supposed to be such sticklers for detail, but it always bugs me that Coca-Cola is product-placed in scene after scene, but has those swirl designs I associate with 1970 (Raquel Welch promoted that design in a series of ads for the Coca Cola Collection of jewelry and scarves).
      The period aspect is the weakest link, and (IMHO) Ithink the political message of the film would have come over stronger if the film's visuals reinforced the period more accurately.
      And thanks for the info about Ashby's wife!! I am a HUGE fan of "Homicidal" but never read much about the actress. Hello Google, for me!

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    2. Ken, I'm glad you mentioned the product placement of Coca-Cola throughout "Shampoo". Not that I realised that Coca-Cola's Dynamic Ribbon Device was anachronistic to the period the film attempted to capture (nor did I, of all people, know ANYTHING about the Raquel Welch ads for Coca-Cola--thanks so much for the heads-up!), but your observation regarding "Shampoo" reminds me of one I had when watching another Warren Beatty film, "Heaven Can Wait". You may recall the sugar investment scene where health fanatic Pendleton/Farnsworth expresses his reservations about sugar ("It's no good"--"The deal?"--"No, the sugar. It's bad for the body"). Later in the film, Pendleton/Farnsworth (Warren Beatty) is seen drinking a can of Coca-Cola (what, no whey shake?). Despite all the care taken elsewhere in movies, I don't think much thought is given when product placement is inserted into films--and evidently, this was more than just a one-off agreement between Mister Beatty and Coca-Cola.

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    3. The coke thing is a minor detail to be sure, but the cans are featured in so many scenes you'd think they'd at least go for that extra bit of period detail, since so much of the look flirted with contemporary 1975 trends.

      Link to 1970 Coca Cola ad promoting Raquel Welch's TV special:

      http://artskooldamage.blogspot.com/2009/11/love-sugar-raquel-welch.html

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    4. Thanks for that, Ken, I immediately searched for and found this ad, as well as the "horizontal" version, and my first impression was you would NEVER see Miss Welch wearing such chintzy accoutrements under normal circumstances!

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  2. Warren Beatty in Shampoo Yes, I'm that superficial.

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    1. Ha! Nothing superficial in that. The character he played may have been a bit icky, but Beatty was certainly a very good-looking man in his prime!

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  3. Thanks so much for posting this Ken, as I've been ambivalent about seeing 'Shampoo'. I didn't know if the political satire would go straight over my head as it is both, from a different era and a different country. But what you mention about the person Beatty portrays, and being in your twenties and the choices we make in this time of life made me think again.

    Consider this added to my 'To Watch' list.

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    1. Hi Mitchell
      So glad you will give this film a look-see. Many of my friends have avoided it, thinking it was one of those odious sex comedies about a lovable philanderer (like those terrible 60s movies with Tony Curtis), or worse, a Warren Beatty ego-stroke wherein he just brags about how irresistible he is to women.
      Others have been disappointed because it's not really a laugh out loud/jokey kind of comedy at all. It's more a satire and observational comedy of manners.

      Happily,"Shampoo" has lots to offer in and a lot on its mind. And the political stuff is so poorly handled that its unfamiliarity to you won't diminish the film one iota. Worth it for the performances. Hope you like it

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  4. Wow! Some quick thoughts: I’m a Vampira fanatic (quel surprise!) and that little titbit about her hair being “burnt-off” in an unfortunate beauty salon accident is interesting. The signature long black Morticia Addams hair Maila Nurmi wore as Vampira was actually a wig. When you see photos of her sans wig, her hair is brutally short and severe – she looks like she’s anticipating punk in 1956! Your gossip item quite possibly explains this! Re Joan Marshall: I saw Homicidal many years ago (and need to re-visit it), but only just recently discovered Marshall was the original Lily Munster in the pilot for the series! It could have been her instead of Yvonne DeCarlo.

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    1. I love that you are a Vampira fan (and no, that isn't a surprise), but I'm thrilled that you're able to elaborate on the the single bit of info I know about her (I read about it back when Tim Burton's Ed Wood came out).

      Here's a link to a newspaper clip about the event. I wonder how it turned out?
      http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/reply/685346/VAMPIRA-where-was-she-during-the-monster-boom#.UtlJuBDTmUk

      And the hits just keep on coming...I had no idea that Joan Marshall was he original Lily Munster! I love Yvonne DeCarlo, but as a big fan of "Homicidal" she would have made a great Lily! Thanks so much!

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    2. Here's Ms. Marshall (as what was then Phoebe Munster) in the credits for "The Munsters" pilot:

      http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mb0jdqflt71qzr8nao1_1280.png

      (I believe she was envisioned as being too close to Morticia Addams and thus the role was rethought and recast.)

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    3. Wow! She really does look a lot like Morticia. I can imagine that spawning all manner of lawsuits. She looks great though!
      Thanks for that, Poseidon.

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  5. You already know how I feel about Julie Christie so there is little to add to your rave in that area (I'm tickled by the fact that the film is set in the year of "Petulia" - Do you think Jackie saw it?)
    What you wrote about Goldie Hawn is right on. People forget now that she once appeared to be moving in a more serious career direction with "The Sugarland Express" in 1974 and then this terrific performance. I think she might have gone on to play roles in the vein of "Norma Rae" a few years later if she hadn't drifted back into comedy (no knock against her comic chops which were awesome).
    Whenever I watch movies from the 1970s now - especially ones set in California - I always ponder what you might have to say about them. (Even stuff like "Perfect" and "Moment by Moment" which I don't believe you have tackled yet.)
    Keep up the great work!

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    1. I'm stunned I never made the connection between the time frame of this film and "Petulia"! I love it though, especially imagining what a character like Jackie would have made of a character like Petulia.
      Happy to hear you're as fond of Hawn's dramatic outings as well. Her scene yelling at Beatty is one that always stays with me. She's so good in it.
      Hugely flattering that you might watch 70s film and give a thought as to what I might make of it. The more posts I write, the more I'm coming to turns with what an impact that decade made on me.
      And don't get me started on those two Travolta epics. One I appeared in an extra, the other is a concoction almost surreal in its wrongheadedness. (Actually, the latter really describes them both.) I'm sure to hit them one day. Thanks, Joe!

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    2. I've entered two replies but neither has appeared or a note stating that my comment needs to be approved.That being said........Goldie's scene yelling at Beatty seems a little too spot on;I have a feeling that it happened in real life as well!

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    3. Hi Doug
      I can't imagine why your two other replies failed to show up, but I'm glad this one did. That's an interesting observation you made about one of my favorite scenes. Indeed, perhaps one of the reasons Goldie's well-timed tirade stands out so strongly for me is because it DOES have the ring of verisimilitude. Were I told it was taken from a real-life even, it wouldn't come at all as a surprise!

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  6. Ken, not to hijack this post and thread, but I have done profiles on both of these movies!! Would I have seen you in the one?? That's a hoot.

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    1. I haven't seen "Perfect" in many years, but I'm not particularly easy to find. I'm a student in all of Jamie Lee Curtis' aerobic classes and in several shots I am behind Travolta. But as they shot most of these scenes crotch level, you have to look for sea green dolphin shorts, grey leg warmers(!) and a cut-off t-shirt with "Body by Jessie" (Jamie's character) on it. Also, I think I have a Prince-like Jheri-curl.
      Oy! What an experience. You'd need to be in "Can't Stop the Music" to have been on a gayer set.
      By the way, I remember loving the posts on your site for these movies. "Moment by Moment" is ...one of a kind!

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  7. You've never seen "Black Shampoo"? I purchased it several years ago on DVD--I watched it again after reading you've never seen this enduring cult favourite. The similarities between this and "Shampoo" are superficial to say the least. That said, "Black Shampoo" is scream-out-loud hilarious. The fact it has a sub 5.0 rating on IMDB says more about your typical IMDB reviewer than it does about the film. Much better than its reputation would otherwise suggest--and it was an early gig for cinematographer Dean Cundey! ("Halloween", numerous other John Carpenter films, the "Back to the Future" trilogy, and several other blockbusters). Clearly, anybody who thinks "Black Shampoo" is a "bad" film has no idea of what type of film it's trying to be.

    I must confess, I was a bit surprised when watching "Shampoo" to see this highly 1970s array of costumes, hairstyles and decor, only to then be thrown off by this chatter about Nixon running for President. Even as someone born around the tail-end of the seventies, it's blatantly obvious to me this film doesn't quite capture 1968 like it intended.

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    1. Ha! No, I've never seen "Black Shampoo"! Honestly, but if its anything like the 70s exploitation of a films like "Disco Godfather," I'm sure it will be *memorable* when I do.
      As per your comments on its period detail and an earlier observation about its anachronistic product placement, I think "Shampoo" has much to recommend it, but capturing the feel and look of of 1968 isn't exactly one of them. Thanks, Mark!

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  8. Ken, this is my very favorite of all Warren Beatty's films because he totally skewers and manipulates his own offscreen image to hilarious advantage--and turns Hollywood into a microcosm of our superficial, numbed-out society. The character of George is far from the calculating, shrewd, brilliant filmmaker and Hollywood Casanova that Beatty really was... instead he creates a spaced-out and inarticulate manwhore who is literally DUMB as a rock! Total satire. Though his role is pivotal and forms the apex of the action, George's perpetually blank stares and vapid "hey,babys" give some of the era's greatest actors--particularly Christie, Grant, Hawn and Warden--the chance to shine. Each of the players projects onto George what they want him to be...but there's absolutely nothing there. There's no coincidence that this movie was set against the twin backdrops of politics and the film industry...both arenas are pure smoke and mirrors, all image/no substance--and, as you beautifully pointed out, substituting narcissism for real relationship and connection. The film really captures "the me decade" of the 1970s to a T--the social numbness which set in following the assassinations of MLK and RFK in 1968, where this story is set. And yet it's such fun and not heavy-handed; it's all done so deftly and with a feather-light touch, like a Feydeau farce. And Mr. Beatty has never been as hunky and humpy in any other film as in this one...(maybe that's the REAL reason I like it so much...but I hope I'm not that superficial).

    Ken, thanks again for your taste in film! I love Le Cinema Dreams!!

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    1. I love the point you make about everybody projecting upon George what they want him to be, and there being absolutely nothing there. I think you nailed, Mr. Beatty's particular brand of shrewdness right on the head: there is something canny in his portraying so many beautiful-but-dim males (Clyde, McCabe, Joe Pendleton in "Heaven Can Wait", Joe Grady in "The Only Game in Town." It made an of-puttingly pretty male a person you could empathize with. You like him, you don't resent him.

      It's obvious you like Mr. Beatty physically (can't blame you there), but it's just as obvious that you really understand and appreciate exactly what the filmmakers were after (both in tone and content) with "Shampoo." A very LA story that really couldn't have taken place in any other city on the planet.

      Should you ever write about this film on your blog, I know I would find your observations fascinating. Thank you very much, Chris!

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  9. Great article.You know,I found this by googling Jaye P.Morgan/Shampoo.I know several places list her in the film as Tina.Yet on her IMDb profile,Shampoo is not listed.I've read a few articles about Jaye and the film,but your picture of her in the beauty shop is proof.I wonder why it's not listed on her film credits,even if it's uncredited.

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    1. Thank you very much! To be honest, it was only after having already seen the film several times and then reading in a film reference book that Jaye P Morgan was in it, that I was then able to spot her. It took some effort.
      As for IMDB, I'm not always sure what their practices are regarding listings. Although I rely on the site a great deal, it is nevertheless loaded with inaccuracies (like someone mistaking a character actor for Ray Bolger in 1982's "Annie") and omissions.
      Thanks you for stopping by the site and commenting. Happy I could supply visual proof of something you'd heretofore only encountered in print.

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    2. IMDB used to be my favorite site, but it has gone downhill in terms of accuracy...I always have to double-check with wiki...BUT they are very responsive when you submit corrections. You can sign in for free and then fill out their correction form...I have made a few additions over the years that now appear on the site...

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    3. Thanks for that info, Chris. I've had similar experiences...I always have to double-check facts because so many inaccuracies have begun to seep into the site.

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  10. Today I wondered, "I wondered if ken reviewed Shampoo" seeing that you reviewed Bonnie and Clyde. Yet again, we seem to have loved the same movies, for the same reasons (well mostly I guess). the first time I saw Shampoo, I was eleven. I was so excited to watch (ABC was showing it over Christmas break) mostly being a Goldie Hawn fan....and a Warren Beatty fan....only a little bit though. but...I only saw the beginning up to when Christie visits Lester at the office. I wouldn't see it again until 1983...and see in its entirety. I loved it, even though I was a bit stunned. getting to see the end....I was heartbroken. I hadn't felt hurt by love gone wrong since seeing Kramer vs. Kramer at the age of 9....watching the elevator doors close on Meryl.....asking if she looked okay before seeing her son. as Dustin smiles and says, "you look great"....end of movie. I was 9...but I got it, believe me. the same thing with Shampoo's ending. Christie driving up a hill to get away....Beatty following her and blocking her from her car to escape again. Never forget Beatty crying, begging her to give him another chance. And Christie saying, "you're too late....Lester and I have a tickets for the 4 00 flight". Beatty: "what do you mean, too late? we're not dead....." For me, one of the saddest endings in film...when Christie thinks for a brief moment...but decides on Lester. she drives off...Paul Simon sadly humming....George watches her below. Damn straight, it's too late. No boy gets girl in the end. No "Pretty Woman" ending. the credits with the beach boys coming out of the blackout, where George stands looking, as we see him from the back....is so honest and direct....how could anyone not cry or feel sadness in their heart. I'm sure Ashby wanted the audience to ask themselves....what will happen to George? For me, I really felt like I knew the ending was the ending. He made too many mistakes....he was given so many chances....and he blew it. The different moments at the end, as George's life collapses, like a house of cards blown over, explains it is over. Jill's confrontation with George, George desperately asking where Jackie might be at the shop, only to find that his boss' son was killed the night before in a car accident....to George having Lester admit to him that life is basically shit (as Nixon is proclaimed the winner on George's tv), you know he won't get Jackie to stay with him. I still have trouble watching the scene. seeing two people who were meant to be together....but separating because too much has gone wrong...too much has changed....hurts too much, I think. this is aleady getting too long....Shampoo has it all going for it. all star cast, a moving story, memorable scenes and characters (the political party scene at the restaurant? it doesn't get much better) and so many great scenes with very funny and memorable lines. my favorite of all, Christie grabbing a glass of wine, a bit drunk, pissed that George won't leave her alone about her drinking as she yells with contempt...."ONE MORE WORD OUT OF YOU AND I'LL GARGLE WITH IT!!!" (in fact, Christie has the best lines....her character the only one who realizes that everyone is full of shit...after experiencing shit after shit experience....and in no fear at all of letting people know.) I love Shampoo, everything about it. One of the best comedies in film. at the same time....it couldn't be more deadly serious. The scene where George shouts at the banker, "How are you supposed to help me when you don't know the first thing about my business???.....you asshole", as the banker ignores him....is the part of the story that hurts the most....life was about to change, quickly, for everyone. but no one would be prepared for the end of 60s idealism...and the beginning of a downfall.

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  11. Hi John
    For one so young, you have a wonderful appreciation and understanding of what 70s films attempted to do. I don't mean that to sound condescending, but often those who "get" 70s films are those who lived through them.
    You were far too young when most of these films were released, but your discovery of them later sounds like a rich experience.
    Your account of "Shampoo" and what it meant to you is very insightful and far ore penetrating than most pieces I've read online by younger film fans.
    Sometimes i think the rapid pace of films today conditions people to grasp only the most superficial aspects of cinema storytelling. To look at "Shampoo" as merely the story of a Beverly Hills lothario is but to skim the surface. You really capture what is going on with the characters and with the film's theme. I really enjoyed reading this! Especially your take on the very sad ending.
    Wonderful. Thanks, for the contribution, John!

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  12. I loved your review of Shampoo...just one minor quibble: The actor you continuously refer to as Jack Weston is actually Jack WARDEN

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    1. Thanks for the heads up and compliment! Corrections noted!

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