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Shampoo Criterion Blu-ray Review

Shampoo.jpg

“Shampoo” has it all.

In director Hal Ashby’s “Shampoo,” the story revolves around a selfish hairdresser who is quite the player when it comes to the opposite sex. George dreams of opening his own shop, but his constant lies and drama filled personal life always seems to get in the way. So as to not spoil how the story unfolds, I will just say there are other key players in this comedy including an actress (Jill) with self-esteem issues, a former lover of George’s named Jackie, a housewife (Felicia) and her successful husband (Lester) who happens to be interested in investing in George’s potential shop.

Although set in Beverly Hills in 1968 on election day, “Shampoo” was actually released in 1975. Since it is now 2018, the film does lose a bit of its poignancy given that certain elements feel like relics of the past (such as the idea of a rockstar hairdresser and the sexual revolution). With that said, however, there’s a lot about this movie that holds true today. The core concepts of this film involving people living in a bubble, false promises, self-involved individuals, sex addiction, the class system, and politics all still feel relevant. Moreover, they are all written in a very clever and smart fashion thanks to the script by Robert Towne (best known for scripting “Chinatown”) and Warren Beatty.

Themes aside, the movie is also a fascinating comedy. There’s an almost screwball esque vibe to the story in terms of the chaotic character dynamics, the hectic pace, and the build-up of situations hat are bound to end explode (figuratively speaking). Granted, this doesn’t feel like an old Hollywood screwball movie given the mature content that is in this film, but it does have a screwball vibe with a more adult, sexual twist.

As strong as the script is, it’s the ensemble cast that makes this movie come alive. Warren Beatty shines as George, Julie Christie arguably steals the show as Jackie, a young Goldie Hawn makes an impression as Jill, Lee Grant lives up to her Oscar win and Jack Warden gives one of the best performances of his career as Lester. Keep an eye out for a young Carrie Fisher here in a small but memorable role as well.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? This is quite an upgrade. Expect to see a much clearer and crisper transfer thanks to the new 4K digital restoration.

Audio Tracks: Uncompressed Mono and 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Some folks may opt for the original Mono track but the 5.1 track has a lot more depth to offer.

Extras: * A fold-out booklet with an essay by producer/writer/critics Frank Rich * “Mark Harris And Frank Rich”- A thoughtful half-hour conversation between the critics about various elements of “Shampoo.” * “The South Bank Show: Warren Beatty”- A clip from this 1998 TV show featuring Warren Beatty. Beatty talks about Hollywood cinema, “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Shampoo,” politics, and more.

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October 20, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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