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Hair (1979)

The 1960s stage musical Hair was rigorously anti-Vietnam, vigorously anti-authority and glorified free love, bisexuality, long hair, draft-card burning, LSD and body odour.

It still played very much like the Sixties period-piece it had already become when it was belatedly filmed in 1979.

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What Hair had to say in 1967, to cynics who wanted no part of conventional society, was productive and vital. Kids piled into a defunct nightclub called Cheetah, smoked pot, and made love, not war.

Later the message reached the masses on Broadway, and songs like Aquarius and Let the Sunshine In became hymns for a restless generation with no use for soap, underwear or sixties values.

Years passed and the old words became old hat. At a time when yesterday’s hippies were either running record companies or working in government jobs in Washington, Hair was as tired as a ten-year-old bikini.

With nothing but noisy music and no plot, the people responsible for dragging Hair out of its closet had to find a way to contemporise it so it wouldn’t seem dated beyond rescue.

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A lame structure was invented, involving a naive Oklahoma farm boy (John Savage) who boards a bus to the Big Apple to visit the draft board.

In Central Park, he comes across a group of homeless, rootless, mindless loonies who are much too old to be hippies, and gets introduced to a new lifestyle.

Thoroughly stoned, jailed, humiliated, and confused, our hero ends up in an Army training camp in Arizona, with the flower children in hot pursuit.

The leader of the pack – a hirsute hobo named Berger – cuts his own hair and exchanges clothes with the soldier so he can sneak off the base for a rendezvous with the gang, and gets mistakenly sent to Vietnam in his straight buddy’s place.

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John Savage
Treat Williams
Beverly D’Angelo
Dorsey Wright
Annie Golden
Don Dacus

Director
Milos Forman

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