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ROBERT ALLEY
from the screenplay by Robert Towne & Warren Beatty
Shampoo


click to enlarge

Dell, New York, 1975
(price: 50p; 160 pages)


The blurb on the back:

'The La Dolce Vita for the 1970s.' - Judith Crist, New York Magazine
'A brittle, deliciously bitchy comedy, charting 24 hours in the life of a horny Hollywood hairdresser.' - Bruce Williamson,
Playboy
'
Shampoo will be worth studying a century from now to know what a part of our times was like. Its language wipes out whatever reticences were left in the screen's playback of life as spoken. Its images manage fairly ingeniously to keep a few letters east of X and yet the combination of word and half-seen deed makes Shampoo seem more explicit than Last Tango In Paris.' - Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times


opening lines:
The view from Beverly Hills was worth the money it cost. The smog had moved on, leaving the city of Los Angeles a luminous mat casually spread on the back doorstep of America.


The only really extraordinary thing about Shampoo was how damn seriously people took it. Did the Los Angeles Times really think it would 'be worth studying a century from now'? Well, apparently so, such was the power of Warren Beatty's name, and such was the self-obsession of America and, particularly, Los Angeles at the time.

The reality is that it's a nice little comedy. Despite its pretensions, it has no political content whatsoever (it's set on the day that Richard Nixon first got elected as US President), but it does have some fine lightweight performances from Beatty as a randy hairdresser and the likes of Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn and Lee Grant as the young ladies with whom he has sex. Think of it as a superior version of the Confessions films: that way, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is.

What is less obvious is the fact that the book's perfectly readable. Not a classic, by any means, but a cut above the usual novelization standard.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


from the maker of...

Last Tango In Paris

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