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The Big Shave (1968)

 -  Short | Drama | Horror  -  October 1968 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,434 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 8 critic

In the process of shaving, a young man cuts himself. A lot.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Peter Bernuth ...
Young Man
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Storyline

This short film is a metaphor for the Vietnam War. A man walks into a meticulously clean and sterile bathroom, concentrating on the polished porcelain and shiny metal motif. He then proceeds to shave. When his face is clean, however, he only continues to shave until he pierces through his skin. Blood covers him and falls around him, the red contrasting the perfect spotlessness of the bathroom. Written by Joseph D. Guernsey

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Genres:

Short | Drama | Horror

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Release Date:

October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Shave... or, Viet '67  »

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1.37 : 1
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Whiteness - Herman Melville See more »

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Referenced in American Dad!: The Best Christmas Story Never (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent short film that launched Martin Scorsese's career.
7 June 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Martin Scorsese's short film "The Big Shave" is absolutely excellent. The film was produced with almost no budget as his final project in film class at N.Y.U. I was shown this film at the beginning of my film class, and the professor didn't tell us who's film it was. He simply said that it was somebody's final project at N.Y.U. As the credits appeared, we were all amazed to see Martin Scorsese's name. As it turns out, this is the film that launched his career. A very famous film producer attended the N.Y.U. screening that year, and immediately sought to have Scorsese direct a full-length feature film. After that, Scorsese became a household name. The film, about a young man shaving, is set to a bouncy classiscal dance tune, adding a sick sense of humor to the movie. For the entire length of the film, we can see that it definitely reflects Scorsese's style as a director. The camera angles, sudden and unexpected "emotional cut" editing, and use of unprecedented and unpleasant violence are what have become some of Scorsese's trademarks throughout his films. (If you watch Scorsese's "Mean Streets" you will see an example of his "emotional cut" editing, where Robert DeNiro is slowed down in motion to the tune of "Jumping Jack Flash". In "The Big Shave", the same motion of the man pulling his shirt off his repeated quickly three times. Look at Scorsese's other films and see if you can find some of these elements that "break the third wall", but somehow bring you deeper into the film.)

What should be said about this film that gives it a whole new meaning,(watch the film first and then read the rest of this) is that it is actually a metaphor for Scorsese's protest to the Vietnam War. The man enters a perfectly tidy bathroom, shaves, then looks at his clean face and decides to shave again, but this time it's not as plesant, as he soon hurts himself(understatement) and the clean bathroom.

If you are a fan of Scorsese, you must watch this film as it is the most career-representative short film I have seen. If you like short films, are thinking of pursuing a film career, or simply like thought provoking or even disturbing movies, find out how you can get yourself a copy of this film.

The Green Saga's Rating: 10 out of 10 (Short Film Category)


10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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