Shampoo (1975)

Actually I recently saw two movies from the seventies that had both Warren Beatty and Julie Christie; “Shampoo” and “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”. In both films things turn out pretty poorly for both of them. I’ll stick to Shampoo in this entry.

I was inspired in part to watch Shampoo from J. Hoberman’s very good recent book on American films in the sixties and early seventies, The Dream Life. Hoberman has a very political reading of Shampoo, and it makes sense (much more sense than finding it on a list of 100 funniest movies, for example, which is claimed on the Netflix DVD envelope). Beatty plays a hairdresser named George who’s sleeping around with most of his clients. The story revolves around his activity to open his own salon, which will require money, and he ends up meeting with the husband of one of his good clients, and it turns out that this husband is sleeping with one of George’s old flames.

This just happens to take place on the day of the Presidential election, 1968, and in many scenes there’s a television showing either campaign ads or newsmen talking about the election or speeches from Nixon himself. George ends up losing on all fronts, and Hoberman reads this as a commentary from Beatty on the more recent election of 1972, where George McGovern was soundly beaten by Nixon. While there are some funny scenes and lines, in general I found the film to be pretty downbeat, as no one is too happy with their life, and is making compromises to just get along.

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Comments

  • mike stirling  On May 14, 2005 at 10:38 am

    Pretty cool photo of the legendary actress Julie Christie taken by British photographer Pogus Caesar. (what I’d give to have been on that photo shoot in Birmingham’!!!!!)

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