Shampoo (film)

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Shampoo
Shampooposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Hal Ashby
Produced by Warren Beatty
Written by Robert Towne
Warren Beatty
Starring Warren Beatty
Julie Christie
Goldie Hawn
Lee Grant
Jack Warden
Tony Bill
Music by Paul Simon
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by Robert C. Jones
Production
company
Rubeeker Films
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • February 11, 1975 (1975-02-11)
Running time 110 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million[2]
Box office $49,407,734[3]

Shampoo is a 1975 American satirical romantic comedy-drama film written by Robert Towne and directed by Hal Ashby. It stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, with Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill and in an early film appearance, Carrie Fisher.

The film is set on Election Day 1968, the day Richard Nixon was first elected as President of the United States, and was released soon after the Watergate scandal had reached its conclusion. The political atmosphere provides a source of dramatic irony, since the audience, but not the characters, are aware of the direction the Nixon presidency would eventually take. However, the main theme of the film is not presidential politics but sexual politics; it is renowned for its sharp satire of late-1960s sexual and social mores.

The lead character, George Roundy, is reportedly based on several actual hairdressers, including Jay Sebring and film producer Jon Peters, who is a former hairdresser. Sebring was brutally murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. According to the 2010 book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind, the screenwriter Towne based the character on Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove.

Plot[edit]

Shampoo is set during a 24-hour period in 1968, on the eve of a presidential election that would result in Richard Nixon's election to the American presidency. George Roundy is a successful Beverly Hills hairdresser, whose occupation and charisma have provided him the perfect platform from which to meet, and bed, beautiful women, including his current girlfriend Jill.

Despite this, George is dissatisfied with his professional life; he is clearly the creative star of the salon, but is forced to play second fiddle to the "nickel-and-diming," mediocre hairdresser who owns the place. He dreams of setting up his own salon business, but lacking the cash to do so, turns to wealthy lover Felicia and her unsuspecting husband Lester to bankroll him. George's meeting with Lester supplies a second secret for him to keep from his would-be benefactor: Lester's current mistress, Jackie, is George's former girlfriend, perhaps the most serious relationship he has ever had.

Lester, who assumes George is gay, invites him to escort Jackie to a Republican Party election night soiree, at which George finds himself in the same room as a number of present and former sexual partners. The principals adjourn to a posh counterculture party, and the night quickly descends into drugs, alcohol and sexual indulgence. In the film's dramatic climax, Lester and Jill happen upon George and Jackie having vigorous sex on a kitchen floor. Just before their identities are revealed, an impressed Lester exclaims: "Now, that's what I call fucking!" When Jill recognizes the writhing couple, she throws a chair at them; as George backpedals, trying to placate Jill, Jackie sees him for the cad he is, and flees.

George realizes that Jackie is his true love and proposes to her. By then it is too late: Jackie announces that Lester is divorcing Felicia and taking Jackie to Acapulco. With Felicia gone, Jill gone, and now Jackie gone, the film thus pairs sexual revelation with George's deeper moral development, but ends bleakly for the protagonist, despite his epiphany.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Upon its release, the film generally received positive reviews from critics who lauded its talented cast and sharp, satirical writing. Praise was not universal; some critics, including Roger Ebert, pronounced it a disappointment.[4] From reviews compiled retrospectively, review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 63% based on 30 reviews.[5]

Commercially, Shampoo was a great success, taking $49,407,734 at the box office in 1975. It was the fourth most successful film in 1975 by box office takings, beaten only by Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The year after its release saw a blaxploitation send-up, Black Shampoo.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SHAMPOO (X)". British Board of Film Classification. 1975-02-24. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  2. ^ Box Office Information for Shampoo. The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ Shampoo at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ "Shampoo Movie Review & Film Summary (1975)". Chicago Sun-Times. 1975-01-01. 
  5. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/shampoo/
  6. ^ "NY Times: Shampoo". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 

External links[edit]