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Film / Shampoo

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"I go into that shop and they're so great looking, you know. And I, I'm doing their hair, and they feel great, and they smell great. Or I could be out on the street, you know, and I could just stop at a stoplight, or go into an elevator, or I...there's a beautiful girl. I, I, I don't know...I mean, that's it. I, it makes my day. I mean, it makes me feel like I'm gonna live forever. And, as far as I'm concerned, with what I'd like to have done at this point in my life, I know I should have accomplished more. But I've got no regrets...Maybe that means I don't love 'em. Maybe it means I don't love you. I don't know. Nobody's going to tell me I don't like 'em very much."

Shampoo is a 1975 satirical comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby, starring Warren Beatty (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Towne and produced the film), Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill, and Carrie Fisher (in one of her earliest roles).

On November 4, 1968 — Election Day — George Roundy (Beatty), a Beverly Hills hairdresser, is trying to get enough money so he can open his own shop. He's also trying to juggle the demands of the women in his life, including Jill (Hawn), a model who's his current girlfriend; Felicia (Grant), a rich housewife and one of George's best customers (both in the shop and in bed), who offers to set George up with her tycoon husband Lester (Warden) for the money he needs; and Jackie (Christie), Jill's best friend, Lester's current mistress, and George's ex-girlfriend, whom he's still in love with.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: At one point, Jill tells George, "The only way you'll get money out of a bank is to rob one." Goldie Hawn's and Warren Beatty's previous movie together was $, where their characters execute a bank robbery, and Beatty's portrayal of Depression-era bank robber Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde helped make Beatty a cultural icon.
  • All Women Are Lustful:
    • Felicia. Even after she finds out George slept with her daughter Lorna, she still can't wait to sleep with him.
    • Then there's a drunk Jackie expressing her wish to fellate George at a party. And all the comely ladies coming onto George at the shop and elsewhere.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: George gives one of these to Jackie at the end. It doesn't work; she runs off with Lester.
  • Berserk Button: Lorna does not like being told she resembles her mother in any way.
  • Body Paint: A random woman at the hippie party is seen briefly, wearing nothing but paint above the waist.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Jill confronts George near the end of the movie and asks if he's slept with any of his customers, George tries to evade the question at first, but eventually admits, "Let's face it; I fucked them all."
  • The Cameo:
    • Famed cult horror director William Castle plays an executive at the party for Republican Party supporters everyone goes to.
    • Towne can also be spotted at the other party most of the characters go to later.
  • Camp Gay: Norman, the owner of the shop George works at, and also the other male hairdresser at the salon. Probably justified to illustrate why Lester assumes George is gay.
  • The Casanova: George. He is carrying on relationships with Jill and Felicia, while still in love with Jackie. And in one scene he makes love to a teenaged girl and her mother in quick succession. George later admits that the whole reason he went to beauty school was to be around women.
  • Country Matters: Jackie refers to Felicia as "that cunt" at one point.
  • Creator Cameo: Robert Towne appears as a guest at the private party.
  • Death Glare: Felicia and Jackie give one to each other at the party.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Lorna says this in a really blunt way to George while he's waiting for her mother.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • George carries around a hair dryer tucked in his pants like a cowboy would carry a gun, and the hair dryer is...rather large.
    • When George is working on one woman's hair at the salon, her head is in a rather suggestive position relative to his crotch.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Both Jackie and Jill have left George at the end of the movie, and it's doubtful Lester will lend him the money to open up his own shop.
    • And of course the larger Downer Ending of the 1968 presidential election.
  • Election Day Episode: Nixon is elected to the White House.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Takes place over three days.
  • Fish out of Water: Lester the tuxedo-clad Republican is clearly uncomfortable at the second party, with the strobe lights and the rock music and the hippies Skinnydipping in the pool and the lady clad in nothing but body paint.
  • Flipping the Bird: Felicia does this before Lester right before driving away and leaving him at the party.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Probably intentional, given that the film is a satire of the entire society, shallow and aimless. As for sexual morals, Johnny Pope is the only major character not shown to at least come close to cheating on his significant other, as he's presumably single.
  • Hypocrite: Jill, who was about to go home with the director, goes apeshit when she catches George and Jackie having sex at the party.
  • Lady Drunk: Jackie asks George to stop her from getting drunk at the party. She gets drunk anyway, and starts venting her bitterness and rage at being the other woman in Lester's life. And then an even drunker Jackie starts making some very inappropriate comments at dinner (see Naughty Under the Table below).
  • Love Dodecahedron: You probably should keep some graph paper handy to keep track of all the entanglements among the main characters. Suffice it to say that George has a tendency to get involved with women who already have messy love lives.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • One of the reasons why Lester is unaware George is really The Casanova.
    • Lorna acts like she thinks George is gay, but pretty clearly knows that her mom is having an affair with him.
  • The Mistress: Jackie is Lester's kept woman. The reason she is so unhappy is that she actually cares for Lester and hates that Lester won't leave his wife.
  • Mood Whiplash: Everything's fun and games until Lester and Jill catch George and Jackie having sex in the poolhouse at the second party. Then we find out Norman's son has been killed in a car accident, and Jill and Jackie both leave George.
  • Naughty Under the Table: When Sid Roth promises Jackie he can get her whatever she wants, she points to George and declares, "What I really want is to suck his cock." She proceeds to do just that.
    • At the Academy Awards that year, Goldie Hawn was co-presenter of the Best Cinematographer award, and when she was asked if she knew how important the job was she replied, that if they had figured out how to get the camera under the table, the movie would have doubled its profit.
  • No Antagonist: Downplayed, as Lester, Johnny Pope and even Norman definitely qualify as antagonists from George's perspective, - but in fact almost entire plot is George's own (un)doing and it might actually be argued that he got off lightly in the end. The plot conflict would probably be most accurately described as "George destroying himself with the others not getting in the way".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Robert Towne says George was initially inspired by famed Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove, but he also had elements of Jon Peters and Jay Sebring, plus Warren Beatty himself.
  • Oh, Crap!: Lester when he sees Felicia and Jackie together at the party. He's so startled that he pours out an open champagne bottle all over the friend sitting next to him.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: George on the hilltop, watching as Lester and Jackie's car speeds away.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Paul Simon did the score, which amounts to a few minutes of spare acoustic guitar-based melodies spread out widely over the course of the film.
  • Recycled In Space: It's a Restoration Comedy set in modern-day Beverly Hills.
  • Running Gag: George running into former customers whenever he goes out in public.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Jackie wears one cut down to her tailbone.
  • Skinnydipping: The second party is a very hippie affair that includes ladies Skinnydipping in a pool.
  • Spit Take: George spits out his wine when he hears Jackie's Precision F-Strike.
  • Take That!: In interviews, Beatty stressed the reason why he set the movie when he did was to show all the people at the second party (including his character) who didn't care enough to vote, and allowed Richard Nixon to become President (as opposed to the people at the first party, who did care, and voted for Nixon).
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Made in 1975, set in 1968.