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Hair Revisited

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hair movieMilos Forman’s adaptation of the tribal rock musical Hair stars John Savage as Claude, a quiet young man from the Midwest who becomes friendly with a group of New York hippies on his way to begin basic training in the military. The repressed Claude is quite taken with Berger (Treat Williams) and the group of freedom seekers who reside in Central Park. The group encourages Claude to go after a debutante named Sheila (Beverly D’Angelo). Legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp masterminded the dances, which attempt to flow from the natural settings of the film. The film includes most of the more famous songs from the original play, including “Donna,” “Aquarius,” “Easy to Be Hard,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and the title number. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

 

 

Director: Milos Forman

Writers: Gerome Ragni, James Rado

Staring: John Savage, Treat Williams and Beverly D’Angelo

 

Beverly D'Angelo

Beverly D'Angelo

Beverly D'Angelo John Savage

Beverly D'Angelo John Savage

Hair

Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Review for “Hair Revisited”

  1. Last night as I was sitting at home, I noticed that the 1979 Milos Forman film, “Hair” was on one of the High Def Channels. I remember seeing this film when I was in high school and loving it so I thought I would give it a re-viewing. I have always been a fan of both the play and the 60’s so; I felt it was worth another two hours of my time. Besides, there was nothing else on TV anyway.
    The film stars Beverly D’Angelo in one of her first roles. It also stars both John Savage and Treat Williams. As is usually the case in a Milos Forman film, all of the acting was impeccable. Ms. D’Angelo gives a breakout performance in the role of “Sheila,” the ditzy rich debutante from Short Hills, New Jersey. I’m surprised that after this film she did not become a box office superstar.
    For those of you who know little about “Hair”, it is one of the quintessential works from the late 1960s. The musical play has very little story and is mostly just a collection of songs celebrating the “Age of Aquarius,” and the Hippie Lifestyle. However, when adapting the play to film, the original writers made the story much more centered and more time specific. In the process, it went from a tribal love musical to a tale of the 60s counterculture and the idiocy of the American military position in Vietnam.
    The musical was never pro-war, but it also did not play the American military as a bunch of idiots. Here, in a couple of set pieces, that is exactly what is done. The two pieces I am specifically talking about are the musical number White Boys/Black Boys and the sequence in which Claude (Savage) completes basic training. In the first of these, the army is portrayed as a bunch of lascivious homosexuals. In the other, the army is portrayed as being run by a bunch of gun happy morons.
    Other than these anti-military sentiments, of which I totally disagree politically, the film is very well done and enjoyable on every level.
    The story centers around red-neck Oklahoman Claude, who leaves his farm, and goes to New York, just prior to his reporting for the draft. When he arrives in New York, he meets George Berger (Williams) and his group of hippies. Along the way, he also meets Sheila who is on a horseback outing in Central Park. From that point forward, Berger and his gang try to convince Claude that he should not report and to join them in their anti-war celebration of life. In the meantime, they also try to get him and Sheila hooked up.
    The Twyla Tharp choreography is outstanding throughout. It succeeds in expressing the 60s counter culture of drugs and free love while at the same time maintaining Ms. Tharp’s usual style. The opening sequence exemplifies this from the “Aquarius” number through the end of the horse rental sequence. Between Forman’s exquisite shot selection and Ms. Tharp’s dance numbers the sequence transfers the viewer directly into the psychedelic 60s.
    The score is full of rock standards which included the aforementioned “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Easy to be Hard, “Good Morning Starshine,” and the title track. In between these mega sellers, you are given a little dose of anti-establishment in numbers that poke fun at everything from racism, parental obligation, drugs and kinky sex.
    Hair is not a movie for the usual conservative as it addresses many social issues which are not in favor with our politics. However, if you are looking for a memorable look into the 60s and two hours of pure musical entertainment, you will like it anyway.
    I give it four stars.

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