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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

Shampoo (1975) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“Shampoo” (1975) is a sexual farce of the kind once seen in 1930s pictures before a restrictive production code limited what could be shown, a code newly superseded by a ratings system. It is set on (American) election eve, Nov. 4, 1968 (when Nixon squeaked in) and the morning after. It's largely concerned with whether Beverly Hills hair­dresser George “Georgie” Roundy (Warren Beatty) is part of “the establish­ment.” Here what's meant by that is according to the opening Beach Boys song, “Wouldn't It Be Nice”:

Wouldn't it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn't have to wait so long?
And wouldn't it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong?

You know its gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new?
And after having spent the day together,
Hold each other close the whole night through?

The opening sequence—after some audio-only huffing & puffing—shows this to be not the life­style George currently enjoys. While the estab­lish­ment, correctly realized, places coitus within marriage, and before­hand just waiting for it, the hair­stylist here is against abstinence, believing that a daily shampooing allows the follicles to breathe. With sex reserved for marriage à la estab­lish­ment, other relations have freedom to breathe: be they with exes, mistresses, girl­friends, friends, business associates, or family connections. George simply enjoys free love (“I don't do sex for money; I do it for fun.”)

He's too far gone from the establishment to be able to secure a loan from a bank to start his own hair salon. How­ever, he does have interest from Republican senator Lester (Jack Warden) who could put up the investment money. Lester lives to make money and doesn't enjoy a sex life, keeping up his marriage but to maintain appearances.

The women in this film are being played by men after only one thing. George visiting a Nixon victory party, though, turns his thoughts towards marriage, while Lester visiting a hippie orgy has thoughts of cashing in on the loose times. At the former we hear the dullest of speeches ever given (concerning Native American heritage) and at the latter we hear an absolutely horrid arrangement of the Beatles, “Yesterday.” Nixon speechi­fied about his moral leader­ship, and the hippies had theirs as well. Of course, by the time this movie came out (1975) the audience will have seen the Water­gate scandal and the AIDS epidemic respectively.


George's philosophy is, “As long as I can remember, when I see a pretty girl and I go after her and I make it with her, it's like I'm gonna live forever.” The Lord cautioned us, (Matt. 5:27-28) “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That who­so­ever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath com­mit­ted adultery with her already in his heart.” Visionary Maria Valtorta expands on that: (177f)

17. Jesus smiles and begins to speak.

« You heard that in the old days it was said: “You shall not commit adultery.” Those who among you have heard Me in other places know that I have spoken about that sin several times. Because, look, as far as I am concerned, it is a sin not for one person only, but for two or for three. I will make Myself clear. An adulterer sins with regard to himself, he sins with regard to his accomplice, and sins causing the betrayed wife or husband to sin, they may in fact be led to despair or to commit a crime. That with regard to the accomplished sin. But I will say more. I say: “Not only the accomplished sin, but the desire to accomplish it is already a sin.” What is adultery? It is to crave for him, who is not ours, or for her, who is not ours. One begins to sin by wishing, continues by seduction, completes it by persuasion, crowns it by the deed.

« How does one begin? Generally with an impure glance. And that is connected with what I said before. An impure eye sees what is concealed from a pure eye and through the eye thirst enters the throat, hunger enters the body and fever the blood. A carnal thirst, hunger, fever. Delirium begins. If the person looked at is honest, the delirious looker-on is left alone on tenter­hooks, or will denigrate in revenge. If also the person looked at is dishonest, he 'will reply to the look and the descent into sin begins.

« I therefore say to you: “If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her because his thought has accomplished the deed of his desire.” If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to be without one eye than to be thrown into the infernal darkness forever. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell. It is true that it is written that deformed people cannot serve God in the Temple. But after this life, the deformed by birth who are holy and those who are deformed out of virtue, will become more beautiful than angels and will serve God, loving Him in the happiness of Heaven. »

The Gospel confirms, (Matt. 5:29-30) “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” George is in such a line that there's a veritable parade of beauties before him every day. If such is too great a temptation, he would do well to find another line. Indeed, for one of his beauties, he shortened her hair so she would not to look “like a hooker.” And we were all thankful when Nixon resigned.

Production Values

Shampoo” (1975) was directed by Hal Ashby. It was written by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty, the latter maintaining creative control. It stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, and Goldie Hawn. George Roundy was supposedly modeled after celebrity hair­dresser Jay Sibling who was murdered by the Charles Manson Family. Lester & Felicia's 18-year-old Lorna was played by a petulant Carrie Fisher, an intimation of “Star Wars” Princess Leah to come. The acting was all great.

The film is rated R. A lot of blasphemous language is used, but it's not soft porn though it depicts a lot of sex, mostly indirectly as befitting a sexual farce. It's gentle nostalgia on top of trans­gressive language. Paul Simon wrote some original music for it, and there are period pieces, as well. It is loosely based on a Restoration Period English play, “The Country Wife” by George Wifferly, in which a guy pretends to be gay so he can make all his friends' wives. Our hair­dresser Georgie also allows him­self to be thought “a fairy” in order to allay suspicion. The costumes were more 70s than 60s.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Shampoo” was the advent of the blockbuster where instant popularity recouped expenses right away. It was popular in its day. I found it interesting in a nostalgic kind of way. If it suits your tastes, I think you'll like it.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version, pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Valtorta, Maria. The Gospel as Revealed to Me. Vol. 2. Translated from Italian by Nicandro Picozzi, M.A., D.D.  Revised by Patrick McLaughlin, M.A. This 2nd English Edition has now replaced the First English Edition, The Poem of the Man-God. Isola del Liri, Italy: Centro Editoriale Valtortiano sri, 1987. WEB, print.

Wouldn't It Be Nice” (1966)
   Music by Brian Wilson. Lyrics by Tony Asher, Mike Love & Brian Wilson. WEB.