Just came home from a special showing of "Hair" in NY. But first a little history:
I saw this film when i was 18, (a pivotal time of life to watch this film) when it was first released in spring of 1979. Knowing the history of the groundbreaking stage show, but never seeing it, i was interested to see that the movie critics were near unanimous about how good this film was (and still is...the mark of true film classics) and really liking film musicals but aware they're just not filmed as much as they should be...i set out to see the film within its first month.
Knowing it takes place a lot in Central Park, I walked with some friends through it before seeing it at the large Ziegfeld movie theater, then and now, one of the few single screen theaters in Manhattan. Once the film began...seeing Central Park again after having just walked through in on a lovely spring afternoon...made me connect with the film strongly.
As the critics said, it was a more plot-driven story than the stage show, with dazzling choreography, editing, and acting. I was simply blown away by it. (I painted a denim jacket duplicating the original poster art!) Through the years, i turn on people to this film (no pun intended), and every single one of them says "That was a GREAT film!" Even meeting and getting to know Annie Golden, who plays Jeannie in the film, was fruit borne by this movie. (She invited me to see her last "Cheers" episode, she did four of them as Cliff's girlfriend.) And yeah, she is cute and tough, like in the film.
I've met Michael Weller too, praising him on his screenplay (note to other IMDBers...Milos Forman did not write the script, you gotta give Michael Weller his props). And i asked him and Milos Forman at a DGA screening whether there are deleted musical segments...the soundtrack album has Charlotte Rae singing "My Conviction" and someone else singing "Frank Mills". I believe they said yes. Can someone say "future DVD extras??" But Milos still was the driving force behind this film, and God love him. The film still gets to me. Like tonight:
I just came from a free outdoor showing IN CENTRAL PARK of the film. Twyla Tharp, the great choreographer for the film, gave the introduction, saying that Milos loved the park once he got successful with "...Cuckoo's Nest", so i wonder if he prodded Michael Weller to write the script that he did, with so much Central Park in it. And earlier in the glorious sunshine, i walked just down the hill from where the film was later shown, and i saw the bandshell where Berger and Claude wake up, and the steps-and-tunnel where the songs "Manchester, England", "Colored Spade" and "Ain't Got No" were shot. I can't think of a more perfect place to see this film. (It was a pristine print!)
Lastly (y'all still with me?), the film choked me up all over again. Maybe it was the location of Central Park at dusk. Maybe it's because we're in a questionable war situation again. But i gotta say: the creativity in this film, where most of the songs give me a high each time i see their film segments, to just the touching way these characters from 3 different backgrounds (urban hippies, cowboy, and rich debutante) can form an incredible friendship, to the "Tale of Two Cities"/"Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan" ending, where one gives his life for another...what's not to get choked up about? Throw in that last shot of the "Let The Sunshine In" chorus swelling and the film freezes into sepia history......I'll never stop recommending this film. It's timeless, about a period in time. It's entertaining. It's thought-provoking. It's never dull. (I know: some people disagree. But ten minutes after any part of this film, you're in a different moment.)
So keep spreading the word, folks. Just like the young woman who came with me and having seen it for the first time, LOVED it tonight...like all true classics, it'll sadden and delight people for years to come.
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