Stars: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Carrie Fisher
Dir: Hal Ashby
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Wearing cute little baby-doll frocks that barely cover her bum, Goldie Hawn flashes her knickers and bats her blue eyes all over the screen in the frothy 1975 flick Shampoo. Her character, Jill is just one of the well-groomed Beverly Hills women in gun hairdresser George Roundy’s action-packed sex life. “He wakes me at 2am and says ‘I’m gonna make you the grooviest looking chick in this town'”, Jill proudly tells her best friend, little knowing that she too is on the Roundy round-about … as is her lover’s wife and daughter.
Our incorrigible stylist in director Hal Ashby’s camp and sometimes clumsy classic is none other than Warren Beatty who co-wrote the script with Chinatown’s Robert Towne and also produced the film. Loosely based on the Restoration comedy The Country Wife in which the hero parades as impotent in order to gain access to as many boudoirs as possible, Shampoo dapples with perceptions of Roundy as homosexual. ‘Is he a fairy?’ Moneybags Lester (Jack Warden) asks his adulterous wife Felicia (Lee Grant in an Oscar winning performance). ‘Or maybe he’s just a kooky guy who likes to do kooky things,’ he muses. In one of the punchiest scenes, their daughter (played by nineteen-year old Carrie Fisher in her film debut) grills Roundy about his sexuality before whipping off her tennis whites for a quickie upstairs.
The real scene-stealer though is Beatty’s off screen lover at the time, Julie Christie as Jackie Shawn. After submitting to Roundy’s scissors for a mighty wedgie-bob she throws herself upon him calling him ‘a genius’. Later, wearing a glamorous, backless, black-sequined gown she attempts to go down on him at a stuffy election party. Finally, in a sex romp that scandalised audiences when it was first screened, Jackie gets her man and his outrageous coiffed bouffant at a Jacuzzi and Joint after-party to the strains of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. But just as Nixon is re-elected, our promiscuous root rat unravels and the free love balloon of the sixties bursts.
Check out Shampoo not so much for the moral message but for the hairdos and the outfits… and the thrilling vision of Warren Beatty riding around on his Triumph with his trusty blow dryer tucked firmly into his pants.