Theatrical release poster by Bill Gold
|Directed by||Miloš Forman|
|Produced by||Michael Butler
|Written by||Michael Weller
|Music by||Galt MacDermot|
|Editing by||Alan Heim
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release date(s)||March 14, 1979 (1979-03-14)|
|Running time||121 minutes|
Hair is a 1979 American film adaptation of the 1968 Broadway musical of the same name about a Vietnam war draftee who meets and befriends a tribe of long-haired hippies on his way to the army induction center. The hippies introduce him to their environment of marijuana, LSD, unorthodox relationships and draft dodging.
The film was directed by Miloš Forman, who was nominated for a César Award for his work on the film. Cast members include Treat Williams, John Savage, Beverly D’Angelo, Don Dacus, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, Nell Carter, Cheryl Barnes, Richard Bright, Ellen Foley, Charlotte Rae. Dance scenes were choreographed by Twyla Tharp and performed by the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation. The film was nominated for Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture (for Williams).
A young farm boy from Oklahoma named Claude Hooper Bukowski (John Savage) heads to New York City to enter the Army and serve in the Vietnam War. In Central Park, he meets a troupe of free-spirited hippies led by George Berger (Treat Williams), a young man who introduces him to debutante Sheila Franklin (Beverly D’Angelo) when they crash a dinner party at her home. Inevitably, Claude is sent off to recruit training in Nevada, but Berger and his band of merry pranksters including Woof Daschund (Don Dacus), LaFayette “Hud” Johnson (Dorsey Wright), and pregnant Jeannie Ryan (Annie Golden) follow him. Sheila flirts with an off-duty Sergeant in order to steal his uniform, which she gives to Berger. He uses it to extract Claude from the base for a last meeting with Sheila, taking his place, but while Claude is away, the unit flies out to Vietnam, taking Berger with them. The film ends with the main cast singing at Berger’s grave, followed by scenes of a large anti-war protest outside the White House in Washington, DC.
- John Savage as Claude Hooper Bukowski
- Treat Williams as George Berger
- Beverly D’Angelo as Sheila Franklin
- Don Dacus as Woof Daschund
- Annie Golden as Jeannie Ryan
- Dorsey Wright as LaFayette “Hud” Johnson
- Nell Carter as Ain’t Got No / White Boys
- Cheryl Barnes as Hud’s fiancée
- Richard Bright as Fenton
- Ellen Foley as Black Boys
- Charlotte Rae as Lady in Pink
- Laurie Beechman as Black Boys
- Nicholas Ray as The General
- Michael Jeter as Sheldon
 Differences from original version
The plot is greatly changed in the film. In the musical, Claude is a member of a hippie “Tribe” sharing a New York apartment, leading a bohemian lifestyle, enjoying “free love” and rebelling against his parents and the draft; but he eventually goes to Vietnam. In the film, Claude is rewritten as an innocent draftee from Oklahoma, newly arrived in New York to join the military. In New York, he gets caught up with the group of hippies while awaiting being sent to Army training camp. They introduce him to their psychedelically-inspired style of living, and eventually drive to Nevada to visit him at a training camp. In the musical, Sheila is also an outspoken feminist leader of the Tribe who loves Berger and also Claude. In the film, she is a high-society debutante who catches Claude’s eye. In the film, Berger is not only at the heart of the hippie Tribe but is assigned some of Claude’s conflict involving whether or not to obey the draft. A major plot change in the film involves a mistake that leads Berger to go to Vietnam in Claude’s place, where he is killed. The musical focuses on the U.S. peace movement, as well as the love relationships among the Tribe members, while the film focuses on the carefree antics of the hippies.
The film omits the songs “The Bed”, “Dead End”, “Oh Great God of Power”, “I Believe in Love”, “Going Down”, “Air”, “My Conviction”, “Abie Baby”, “Frank Mills”, and “What a Piece of Work is Man” from the musical. The latter five songs were originally recorded for the film, but were eventually cut, as they slowed the pace of the film. They can be found on the motion picture soundtrack album, although they were omitted on the 1990 reissue. A few verses from the songs “Manchester, England” and a small portion of “Walking in Space” have been removed. While the songs “Don’t Put It Down” and “Somebody To Love” are not sung by characters in the movie, they are both used as background or instrumental music for scenes at the army base. A new song written by MacDermot for the film is “Somebody to Love”. There are several other differences from songs in the movie and as they appear on the soundtrack, mainly in omitted verses and different orchestrations. Many of the songs have been shortened, sped up, rearranged, or assigned to different characters to allow for the differences in plot.
James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who wrote the original musical, were unhappy with the film adaptation, saying it failed to capture the essence of Hair in that hippies were portrayed as “oddballs” and “some sort of aberration” without any connection to the peace movement. They stated: “Any resemblance between the 1979 film and the original Biltmore version, other than some of the songs, the names of the characters, and a common title, eludes us.” In their view, the screen version of Hair has not yet been produced.
Nevertheless, the film received generally favorable reviews from film critics at the time of its release. Writing in The New York Times, Vincent Canby called it “a rollicking musical memoir…. [Michael] Weller’s inventions make this Hair seem much funnier than I remember the show’s having been. They also provide time and space for the development of characters who, on the stage, had to express themselves almost entirely in song…. The entire cast is superb…. Mostly… the film is a delight.” Frank Rich said the “if ever a project looked doomed, it was this one” (referring to the “largely plotless” and dated musical upon which it was based, Forman’s and Tharp’s lack of movie musical experience, the “largely unproven cast” and the film’s “grand budget”); in spite of these obstacles, “Hair succeeds at all levels—as lowdown fun, as affecting drama, as exhilarating spectacle and as provocative social observation. It achieves its goals by rigorously obeying the rules of classic American musical comedy: dialogue, plot, song and dance blend seamlessly to create a juggernaut of excitement. Though every cut and camera angle in Hair appears to have been carefully conceived, the total effect is spontaneous. Like the best movie musicals of the ’50s (Singin’ in the Rain) and the ’60s (A Hard Day’s Night), Hair leaps from one number to the next. Soon the audience is leaping too.” According to Time Out, the film is a “smug, banal fairytale-with-a-message, redeemed only by the intermittently imaginative staging of the songs”; it “sound[s], and for the most part look[s], like a National Lampoon parody of some ghastly Swinging Sixties compendium.”
At the 37th Golden Globe Awards, the film was nominated for a Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and Williams was nominated for New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Male. The film was also nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 1980 César Awards, losing to Woody Allen‘s Manhattan.
- What was behind that [award] was that one day I had in my contract that when the studio wants to sell Hair …to the network but they have to have my, you know, consent or how would they…what they do with it. But I didn’t have this, so what they did, they didn’t sell it to the network, the sold it to syndicated television where I didn’t have that right. What happened: the film played on 115 syndicated stations practically all over the United States, and it’s a musical. Out of 22 musical numbers, 11 musical numbers were cut out from the film, and yet it was still presented as a Milos Forman film, Hair. It was totally incomprehensible, jibberish, butchered beyond belief…
All lyrics written by Gerome Ragni, Jim Rado, all music composed by Galt MacDermot.
|1.||“Aquarius” (Ren Woods)||4:47|
|5.||“Manchester” (John Savage)||1:58|
|6.||“Abie Baby/Fourscore” (Nell Carter)||2:43|
|7.||“I’m Black/Ain’t Got No”||2:24|
|11.||“I Got Life” (Treat Williams)||2:16|
|15.||“Electric Blues/Old Fashioned Melody”||3:50|
|1.||“Where Do I Go?”||2:50|
|3.||“White Boys” (Nell Carter)||2:36|
|4.||“Walking In Space (My Body)”||6:12|
|5.||“Easy To Be Hard” (Cheryl Barnes)||3:39|
|7.||“Good Morning Starshine” (Beverly D’Angelo)||2:24|
|8.||“What A Piece Of Work Is Man”||1:39|
|9.||“Somebody To Love”||4:10|
|10.||“Don’t Put It Down”||2:25|
|11.||“The Flesh Failures/Let The Sunshine In”||6:06|
 See also
- ^ a b c d Horn, pp. 117–18
- ^ Ruhlmann, William. “Hair (Original Soundtrack)”. Allmusic.com,
- ^ “Hair (1979)”, 93% positive reviews at Rottentomatoes.com
- ^ Canby, Vincent (March 14, 1979). “Hair”. The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF173BBE2CA7494CC3B679958C6896.
- ^ Rich, Frank (March 19, 1979). “Cinema: A Mid-’60s Night’s Dream”. Time. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,947038,00.html. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- ^ “Hair (1979)”. Time Out Film Guide. Time Out. http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/71621/hair.html. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- ^ “Festival de Cannes: Hair”. festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/1888/year/1979.html. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- ^ “Artists vs. Solons: Helmer Forman feted for rights fight”. Variety. April 20, 1997. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117434463. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- ^ “Interview with Milos Forman”. The John Tusa Interviews. BBC Radio 3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/forman_transcript.shtml. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
 External links
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hair (musical)|
- Hair at the Internet Movie Database
- Hair at AllRovi
- Hair at Box Office Mojo
- Hair at Rotten Tomatoes
- Trailer from trailerfan.com