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I first saw this film in the early 80's on cable. It was unique as a statement about the sixties, culture, war, music, race, and a bunch of things I'm certain I missed. However about a year ago it came back into my life as I started enjoying it with my son. He's a little young (9) for a lot of the themes in it, but he understands dancing hippies are fun to watch, and he gets the idea that end is ironic. While I can't think of other films in this genre, it does have a stand alone genius I love. It also does a unique justice to Central Park. Most musicals are lost on me, one way or another. "Tommy" was over the top and heavy handed in direction, "Oliver" seemed like crowd control on the silver screen, "The Wall" was so much abstract self important and indulgent dribble, but listening to "Failure of the Flesh" from Hair sounds right for our times today, as it did in the eighties, as it must have in the sixties...truly Timeless.
Now more than ever we need Peace & Love in this world!
This film really showcases the wonderful music of the Broadway show, and the fabulous Choreography of the legendary Twila Tharp! I saw it again after many years, and it still holds up well.
Thank you, MGM/UA for putting this on DVD! I love the option of seeing in Widescreen. MGM rocks for doing this on many of their DVD releases.
Ya gotta love Treat Williams as Berger and John Savage as Claude. They couldn't have picked better actors & actresses for this film! Beverly D'Angelo is such a 'hot mama' in this film--I had forgotten just how hot! WOW!
The supporting cast is absolutely great,
with the late great Nell Carter making a singing cameo in a couple of scenes, as well as the kooky Charlotte Ray (Mrs. Garrett on 'Facts Of Life')
The story gets a little weak toward the end, but the anti-war sentiment of the late 60's still holds up, and is relevant today.
It's beautifully filmed (quite a bit on location) and is so colorful and lovely and really brings the spirit of 1968 back on the big screen.
I saw this movie when it was released in 1979 when I was 15, and was moved by it then, and it still moves me now at 40. Some other reviews on here say they think it should have been made sooner--I don't think Hollywood was ready to make such a movie back in the late 60's-early 70's.
The Vietnam War ended in 1975, and the whole thing hit a little too close to home, I think for this story to be filmed before it was (like in 1969, 70, 71)
Bravo to Director Milos Foreman! I love this film!!!!!!!
It's nice to see it again, this time on DVD. It never looked better!
I have seen this movie more than 50 times in my life, and each time I watch it the movie is just as entertaining as it was the first time! George Berger (played by Treat Williams) leads a small group of 1960's-1970's era anti-war "hippies" living at large in New York City. This small group happens upon a young man, Claude Bukowski (played by John Savage) who has been drafted into the US Army for service in Vietnam. Despite their best efforts to dissuade him, Claude does eventually report for basic training in the Army. Still distressed over his having left them, the hippie group steal a car and travel across the USA to visit Claude "...for a couple of hours," in the words of George Berger (to an M.P. stationed at the entry gate of the Army base Claude is temporarily stationed at in Nevada). The outcome is truly touching, so I won't spoil it for those who have not yet seen this fantastic movie. The musical score is equally fantastic! Don Dacus (of the rock group Chicago), who plays the part of "Woof" - one of the hippies, is a not a key character, but the movie wouldn't have been the same without him. Beverly D'Angelo (who plays Sheila Franklin, an uptown girl who is befriended by the hippie group) is sensational in her role! A MUST SEE film!!
Yes, HAIR came out in the late 70's. But please don't call it a "disco-era" musical; there isn't a single thing in it that would suggest any detraction from its 1968 period. Judge it on its own merit; too often, a movie is compared to its stage roots and is inevitably crucified. As it is, the film plays out like one long, fantasy trip (whether that trip is substance-enhanced or not is your call)- starting with the "Aquarius" sequence and continuing on to the marvelous set pieces for "Manchester England," "Ain't Got No," "I Got Life," and best of all, the "Electric Blues"/"Hare Krishna" fantasy which shows lovers John Savage and Beverly D'Angelo literally flying through their own wedding ceremony. (BTW, the woman singing "Aquarius" in the film's opening is not Melba Moore, but Ren Woods- a wonderful singer-actress seen a lot on TV in the 70's, and star of the Los Angeles production of "The Wiz.") The opening Twyla Tharp corps-de-ballet shot right on the Central Park grounds- with Woods' solo in a dizzying 360 camera pan- is an awesome start to a rock-infested musical. Ms. Moore (who performed in the original Broadway HAIR) appears later in the film singing "3-5-0-0" with Ronnie Dyson in the war protest scene shot in Washington, DC. And there are moments- like the "Walking In Space" basic training sequence or the simple close-up on Cheryl Barnes's torch solo "Easy To Be Hard-" which are just plain astonishing.
The first time I ever saw this movie was when I was four years old. I
remember loving it and everything about it. 13 years later, I am now
17, and decided to watch it about a month ago because I am taking a
1960's class in school. I didn't really know what to expect, since it
had been 13 years since I last saw it, but I was completely blown away
by it. The actors were amazing, the music was so fun, and I now find
myself singing along to every song. Treat Williams is great as Berger,
the "leader" of the hippie group, who always gets what he wants, one
way or another (except for at the very end, of course). John Savage is
actually very convincing as Claude, the Oklahoma draftee who falls in
love with Sheila (Beverly D'Angelo). D'Angelo is lovely as the prim and
proper rich girl who eventually rebels against her upbringing and joins
the hippies. The other hippies are played by Annie Golden, Don Dacus,
and Dorsey Wright. Annie Golden is just adorable as Jeannie, the girl
who is pregnant but still as cute and innocent as a child. Don Dacus
and Dorsey Wright are good as Woof and Hud, the other two members of
the group, and Cheryl Barnes, who plays Hud's fiancée, has an amazing
The only problem I have with this movie, however, is that the relationship between Claude and Sheila is not very convincing. They are barely ever shown together, and when they are, they fight (remember the skinny dipping scene?). It seems as though their relationship is very weak, and by the end of the movie we are supposed to believe they are madly in love, only based on the few meetings they had. I also see that many people writing reviews here are upset by the PG rating this movie has. I personally would raise the rating up to a PG-13, only because there is some drug use... but remember in 1979, PG-13 didn't exist. I don't think the nudity is bad at all, it is in no way sexual (in fact, there isn't really any sex at all in this movie), and it is only to show the childlike innocence that the group maintains. In most European countries, nudity isn't regarded as something bad, and I don't see why it is here in the US. Anyways, I give this movie a high rating, and I'm glad it was made back then, because in the insanely "politically correct" world of today, they wouldn't even think of making it, and even if they did, it would be a very "watered down" version, and I'm sure you wouldn't get the full effect.
In conclusion, this is a very underrated film that is definitely worth checking out.
The 1979 film musical of HAIR was loosely based on the infamous 1960's Broadway musical that became famous because of its infamous nude scene. The stage musical isn't really much more than a group of skits strung together with some amusing musical numbers; however for the film director Milos Foreman (who won an Oscar for directing ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST) and the writers have taken the basic premise of the play and the score and constructed a real story to make the show more "user friendly" for the big screen. In the film, naive farm boy Claude Hooper Buchowski (John Savage) is about to go into the army and decides to spend a couple of days in New York where he meets a group of aging hippies (Treat Williams, Dorsey Wright, Annie Golden, Don Dacus)who get him involved in a group of nutty misadventures, including the pursuit of a snooty society girl (Beverly D'Angelo). The story divides into a series of vignettes that range from the ridiculous to the sublime, but it is all gorgeously photographed with a clever use of NYC locations and imaginatively staged musical numbers (outstandingly choreographed by the legendary Twyla Tharp). Treat Williams lights up the screen as Berger, the unconventional and free-spirited hippie who does his best to get Claude to loosen up and is matched scene for scene by Savage as Claude, who brings a lovely sweetness to the role of Claude. Annie Golden is a charmer as Jeannie, the pregnant hippie who is pregnant by Wright or Dacus, doesn't know which one is the father and doesn't seem to care. There is one outstanding musical number after another here..."Aquarius" is a tour through Central Park which includes dancing horses...Treat Williams disrupts a fancy dinner party in "I Got Life"..."Black Boys/White Boys" features the late Nell Carter and Ellen Foley extolling the ethnic virtues of men and "Easy to be Hard" is a powerful rendering of one of the best songs in the show by original cast member Cheryl Barnes, who plays Wright's ex-girlfriend and mother of his child. This is a beautifully photographed, well-acted sung, and danced psychedelic acid trip of a movie that must be seen and once seen, will initiate multiple viewings as this dazzler has to much to offer to catch it all in one showing.
One night at home I had nothing to do, and I saw that Hair was on t.v.
later. I was curious about it, I mean I had no idea what to expect. I had
heard people make fun of it, and I had heard people praise it. So I had to
watch, I had to have an opinion.
At the beginning of the film, I enjoyed The Age of Aquarius number, and was intrigued. However, when the number Hair came on, I didn't know how to react. I wanted to laugh at it and change the channel, I didn't want my siblings to make fun of me. Yet the song, though a little stupid, was also catchy. I kept watching. After I was finished watching the entire film, I had no idea what had just happened. I didn't know if I liked it or not, I did know that I wanted to see it again.
This is a strangely addicting film. I watched it three more times in the days following, and my final verdict is, I love it! I can't help it. It's just so fun! The fist time I watched it I was mocking it, but by the third time viewing it I was in anticipation over when the number Hair would come on so I could sing along. I especially loved the song, How Can People Be So Hard, it's a different pace from the majority of the film. What can I say, when it was over I was singing the songs in my head for weeks. I just have to buy it. I highly recommend this film to musical lovers (especially if you love musicals like The Who's Tommy). And although I know I would never be a hippie, this film makes me want to say "Heck with work, I'm going to grow out my hair so fleas can live in it!" Watch it, but beware, I think it just might do the same for you!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(May contain spoilers) I find myself disappointed with the criticism this movie receives. While it is most certainly not perfect, it is much better than it is given credit for. The acting and photography are excellent. Some of the musical numbers are great; including the title number, "Where Do I Go?", "Easy to be Hard", and "Black Boys/White Boys". While I have not seen the stage musical, I think that it clouds the judgement of many. This is not the musical you see in theatres. Do not attempt to compare them. The theatrical musical might have been sensational to watch, but it would never have had the same effect on film, so a plot had to be added. And the ending that has been added is just amazing. The movie left me feeling like I had actually watched something important, unlike most of today's movies, which only satisfy on one level.
The original stage show was a gem, but there was no practical way of
reproducing its essence on film, so it appears the story was almost
completely rewritten and the staging redone for the film
What was filmed is lively and a fun depiction of the hippie movement as it never was. Then again, most musicals reach into fantasy just a bit to give the audience the escapism reason for wanting to see movies. The movie of Hair is presented in a very main-streamed format (unlike the stage show) and leaves out the major protests of the stage show against pollution (I understand that DOW Chemicals was a major financial backer of the movie, so that might explain the omission of all pollution references and songs - although they are on the soundtrack) as well as most references to the politics of the era or the plight of black soldiers in combat. Gone, too, are most of the conflicts between the younger and older generations.
This film, however, works for what it is: a musical fantasy that should not be taken seriously or as a depiction of real history. The songs that made it to the film are just as full of energy as they were on the stage, and the new story line (for the most part) is well done. The ending, sadly, goes over the top and alters the whole focus of what had been the building conflict within the plot.
Overall, it is an enjoyable musical involving a very sad time in this nation's history. Unfortunately, the profundity of the stage show is lost, and most people will only ever know the frivolity of this film rather than the beauty and depth of the original musical.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it film; I'm one of those who love
it. Other commenters have said most of what I'd want to say about the
movie, but I did want to add one thing:
A couple of people here have complained that the relationship between Claude and Sheila wasn't documented well enough to explain "the great love they're supposed to have at the end of the movie" (to paraphrase one reviewer here).
I would like to respectfully suggest that they didn't have any such "great love;" instead, Claude had a crush on Sheila, which she didn't reciprocate (or at least not to the same degree). Instead, she came along on the road trip to spend the time with Berger, whom she found far more interesting than Claude - you can see that from the time she meets him.
Doesn't that make more sense, now? Enjoy!
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