Behind The Movie Scenes Of The 1975 Satire 'Shampoo'Highlights from The Pat Kenny Show
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- 23 Sep 2020
Bill Hughes brings us behind the scenes of another movie classic – this week it’s the 1975 satire “Shampoo”
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Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy. To infinity and beyond, just love finding a place where it could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. So it's that time of the week where we go behind the scenes of another movie classic, listen. Well, a great movie, but everything we have this political thing tonight that you're coming out of the house that we went to the night.
Yeah, yeah. We your. I'm just. Celesta. Well, your husband. Yes. What about the shop I think would be a good investment. I don't mind telling. Hey, listen, baby, I'm a star. I'm a star. George. Hey, baby. I already said, oh, George, when can we talk? Well, right in the middle of work. I know, but this is important. I have a decision to make about whether or not I'm going on with Egypt.
Honey, did they offer you the job with no one? But I think they might. Women. Why is she the one with the pancreatic girls? They didn't. Not you the job. I still want your feelings about it after work. Can we talk after work? But I never know when you're working and when you're not.
That's the sound of Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty in the 1975 film Shampoo. And to tell us why it's so good, television producer with me, the great films. Bill Hughes is on the line.
Bill, good morning. Good morning. Pass. This is just a classic. And it's I mean, it's not everybody's taste because it's quiet in your face still 50 years after it came out and four or five years for the pedants among you. And it's set on the night that Richard Nixon gets elected president and on the day and the night. And it follows a hairdresser in Los Angeles in Hollywood called George Roundy. And he's insatiable and he's harried. And he gets up on his motorcycle zips from client to client like Don Juan with a blow dryer.
And his bed hopping is driven by this inner urge. He says that as long as I can remember when I see a pretty girl and I go after her on a make, or it's like I'm going to live forever. And in this film, he is his girlfriend is Goldie Hawn, his lover on the side, who you also heard in that clip is this older woman, Lee Grant, and his ex-girlfriend, Julie Christie.
So, you know, he's got these beautiful women, a bevy of beautiful women, and he's still looking at every woman that passes with a view to at some point seducing them. And that's what this whole thing is. When Robert Town, who is just like the most amazing screenwriter and he had just come off the back of winning the Oscar for writing Chinatown, and people said to him, he says, some people felt that the character was artificial and silly and not worth writing about, and others felt that it was a very serious examination of the life and times of our town, Los Angeles.
You can't hold George up as a role model. He's not an unattractive man. He just isn't a complete one. He's innocent. And it's hard for somebody whose sensibilities are that limited to be terribly unsympathetic. It's like attacking a straw man. He's kind of sweet. He's a child. Well, that's who we're following. We're following George as he jumps from bed to bed, from woman to woman.
And we're watching him in this model because he realizes that he needs his own shop. He is finally he's for and I need to stand on my own two feet. And he's working in a salon where he is the star. But the owner of the salon is such a cheapo to nickel and dime kind of operator. And George realizes I need my own place, goes to the bank, has no facts, no figures, no projections. So they kind of laugh at him and throw them out.
And so in that scene, you heard Lee Grant saying, well, why don't you talk to Lester, her husband, who is this multi-millionaire nouveau riche hoodlum played by Jack Warden?
And both Lee Grant and Jack Warden were Oscar nominated for this, and Lee Grant won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
And that the whole thing plays out like your eavesdropping on all these sleazy conversations and that it's not like they're acting. It's not like they're just being completely real. And Hal Ashby, the director, and he had spent years as one of the top editors in Hollywood, and he actually had edited in the Heat of the Night and won the Oscar for that. And Lee Grant had starred in that with Sidney Poitier. And so he knew how to construct a scene and how to move seamlessly through.
So the story he's telling is a very awkward holding up a mirror to society. So this was groundbreaking, this is way before Kardashians and people like that, this is way before reality TV. So it's like there's a camera on the hairdresser's shoulder as he goes about his business. And it's the first time that the audience could get a look at the sex life of a rampant male. And the audience were sort of shocked. So people either loved it.
A lot of people found it very offensive, but it was massively successful.
Let's have a listen to another scene you've picked. Bill, can you set the scene for us here?
Yeah, at this at this stage in the film, and he realizes Warren Beatty realizes that Julie Christie, the girl he let go, is the girl he really wants to be with. And she's the love of his life. And he goes to tell her that. And when he gets to her house, she runs out of the house, jumps in her car and heads up the canyon up to an overlooking promontory that overlooks her own house. And he follows her up there on his motorbike.
And they have this big confrontation going to kill me.
Honey, what are you trying to do? I want you to marry me. I want to take care of you. And I want you to have a baby and I'll make you happy. I swear to God, I will act. What do you think? I mean, it's too late. We're not dead yet. That's the only thing it's too late. Esther's left early, shall go to Acapulco on the 4:00 flight. I don't trust anybody but you.
So there you are.
Well, there's no point in being too good, doing too much of a spoiler because people will want to see this movie, even though it's 45 years old.
I suppose a lot of people look at Warren Beatty, who was a bit of a ladies man thinking that this was really about him. But it wasn't, was it?
It wasn't. It was about some actual hairdressers in Hollywood at the time, one of them being John Peters, who became this really successful hairdresser. And then one of his clients was Barbara Streisand. He stopped being a hairdresser and produced the movie. A Star is born with Barbra Streisand. And then he became one of the top Hollywood producers because he was so ruthless. So, you know, there's a hint that it's based on him as well. But the soundtrack has to be mentioned because the all the incidental music was specially composed by Paul Simon.
And there's a huge party sequence where we go through different rooms and it's clear there's an orgy going on. It's clear that there's drug taking and they're playing Lucy in the Sky with diamonds and Sgt. Peppers and Buffalo Springfield are playing and Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix.
And it's just so evocative of the time. But the funny thing the director does is he opens the film with the really innocent sounding wouldn't it be nice by the Beach Boys? And after you've seen all the awful stuff coming down the tracks, he then closes the film, Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys? So he's having a good laugh at all of our expense. But you really enjoy it. You have to just go with it because it's quite graphic.
And for Carrie Fisher to make her screen debut and to have her opening scene where she offers she plays the part of Lee Grant and Jack Gordon's daughter and she offers Warren Beatty her body as like she's only 16, 17. It's really shocking for its time, but it's great shampoo.
It's called from 1975, has recommended by Bill Hughes, television producer with my The Films. Bill, thank you very much for joining us.
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