Big Gay Andy

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My friend Chris was drafted when he was living in New York in the late 1960s. When he showed up to the draft board, he told them he was gay -- and they didn't believe him! Seems there had been so many straight guys claiming they were gay in an attempt to be turned away that the authorities assumed my friend was lying too. So when he was told to return for his exam, he dressed in the most flamboyant, gay-looking outfit he could come up with. "I can give you the names and numbers of all my ex-boyfriends," he told them. "I can even give you names and numbers of guys I've blown in Central Park!" Finally they decided he was telling them the truth and they let him go, but he was truly terrified. He saw so many guys around him who were being sent into combat overseas, who were barely out of their teens and afraid for their lives.
 
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bujaki

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Tangent to the film. In college I boarded with a young man who drew the lucky #1 while I drew #2 in the first draft lottery. Neither of us served. Never knew why.
I saw the play on B'way. Didn't care much for it although I liked the music. The film was even less successful in my eyes. I felt Forman had lost much of his way since leaving his homeland.
 

Big Gay Andy

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I've never seen that many Milos Forman movies. I think Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus are the only other ones I've seen, but he impressed me as a very gifted filmmaker -- and I happen to know he was a cat lover, which definitely elevates him in my estimation!
 
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bujaki

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I've never seen that many Milos Forman movies. I think Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus are the only other ones I've seen, but he impressed me as a very gifted filmmaker -- and I happen to know he was a cat lover, which definitely elevates him in my estimation!
Elevates him in my estimation as well!!!
As much as I can see many things to admire in Amadeus, it fell short of the B'way production. And the Cuckoo novel was far, far better than the film. Different media, but I was just let down by Forman's productions. He was still a genius, of course.
 
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Bill Fisher

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OK....paging Paramount...can we FINALLY get a Blu-Ray of Forman's "Ragtime"? Maybe give us some extras like the deleted scenes?
 
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Big Gay Andy

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Oh yeah, I forgot he directed that one. I saw it just once, eons ago. I would like to see it again because I was recently reminded that Fran Drescher, one of nature's noblewomen and one of my favorite human beings ever, was in it.
 
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PMF

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I've never seen that many Milos Forman movies.[...]I happen to know he was a cat lover, which definitely elevates him in my estimation!
Could it be that this film had the working title of Hairball? :D
 
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I love the London and Broadway cast tunes but never saw the film until HBO as a teen. I found it like most of Forman's work, smug and rather obvious. Treat Williams just seemed obnoxious and the musical numbers are a disaster. It definitely came out at the exact wrong time: The Red Dawn of Reagan's America.
 

Big Gay Andy

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We are just going to have to agree to disagree. This is one of my favorite movie musicals and one of my favorite movies, period. Treat Williams is perfect and so are all the other cast members. And Cheryl Barnes is a revelation. Her song "Easy to Be Hard" -- which she nailed in one take -- is one of the immortal moments in film musical history, along with Barbra Streisand's "My Man" in Funny Girl and Bette Midler's "Stay With Me" in The Rose. Cheryl Barnes was a waitress from Maine who just showed up at an open-call casting session. I have no idea why she did not continue in movies but after Hair she never appeared on screen again. No matter how many times I've seen this film, when she sings that song I am dissolved in tears. The rest of the time I have a great big smile on my face. It is a truly joyous experience -- up until the ending, of course.
 
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I'm happy the film is on blu-ray nontheless. And Williams did a great podcast with Gilbert Gottfried talking about his experiences.
 

Dee Zee

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I think it's great that the film worked for you, and I'm certainly not disparaging your experience. I only wish it had for me.

I saw "Hair" when it was still at the Public Theater. Amazing, interactive & inspirational. It made one want to change one's life. The songs and the performers were all new and fresh. What happened seemed to be mostly improvised, predicated on what was happening outside in the streets, which it very well may have been, as this was a workshop production and still in flux. The intimacy and the "realness" of the performers is what counted. Being so close to these people for such an extended period of time added to that sense of uniqueness. What we were going through and what the performers on the stage were going through seemed one and the same. I doubt if a performance today could recapture that.

Also, the virtues of "Hair" as a stage experience; intimacy and apparent spontaneity in an extended, time-specific setting, were completely negated by the film. All that frantic editing and obsessive-compulive choreography basically killed anything life-like or charming that remained. It continually pulled me away from the characters and out of the film. I also found the actors playing the hippies, especially Treat Williams, whom I generally admire, arch and self-conscious. He was acting spirited but didn't seem to really embody it, as the original cast members did. Of course, they weren't famous movie actors. They seemed like people who had just bounded in off the street. They weren't virtuosos and they weren't that pretty. It was their enthusiasm and being in the moment that counted.

For me, the film had very little to do with the play, other than documenting some of the songs and a bit of the character interactions. It was probably a pretty good film, well-crated, photographed and acted, but it wasn't "Hair", so I was very disappointed. What really made "Hair" work as a musical wasn't the songs or the characters or the story but a spontaneity and energy that emanated from the performers and took you over. It seemed joyous. The film, on the other hand, (from my perspective, of course) made everything mannered and studied. There was no sense of community, like there was on stage. When there was "spirit", it was individuals, not as a group. The way it was shot and performed, in tiny little bits that looked overly rehearsed and controlled, necessitated that. No one seemed to interact with anyone else. That's my take, but remember I saw and loved the play.
I so wish Hair at the Public Theater has been filmed like the recent Hamilton film. The 1979 film has none of the excitement of the original in my opinion.
 
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lark144

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I so wish Hair at the Public Theater has been filmed like the recent Hamilton film. The 1979 film has none of the excitement of the original in my opinion.
The film is so not "Hair" it's difficult to discuss.
 
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MatthewA

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Geez, you talk about it like it was A Chorus Line or something.

Is it true Richard Rodgers walked out on the show during the first act?
 
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cinemiracle

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I so wish Hair at the Public Theater has been filmed like the recent Hamilton film. The 1979 film has none of the excitement of the original in my opinion.
Don't despair-all professional stage shows are filmed but mostly for the archives. Email ther company and ask them re a dvd release. They may surprise you? Pity the film version was such a different version of the acclaimed stage show which I saw back in the sixties when it was first staged. It was the first time that full frontal male and female nudity appeared on stage. A few years later I saw the famous NETHERLAND'S DANCE THEATRE in which all the male ballet dancers were naked in one act of the show. Anybody reader see that ballet?
 
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Big Gay Andy

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I just don't get all this hostility toward this film that I have always adored. I do not find ANY of the performances to be "arch or self-conscious" nor do I find anything or anyone in the movie "mannered and studied". I guess I need to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to my opinion.....er, I mean, their opinion.
 
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cinemiracle

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I actually adored this movie (HAIR) and have watched it many times on bluray. It just wasn't anything like the original stage show except for having the same songs. Seeing that was a revelation back in the late sixties.
 

bugsy-pal

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I just don't get all this hostility toward this film that I have always adored. I do not find ANY of the performances to be "arch or self-conscious" nor do I find anything or anyone in the movie "mannered and studied". I guess I need to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to my opinion.....er, I mean, their opinion.
I agree - I find the performances spot on. John Savage is weird at the best of times, but his work here is terrific.

As I have mentioned, I've never seen the original stage production, but to me this films works thanks to a lot of it being shot on the streets and using dynamic camera movement. In that regard it is no doubt a huge departure from how the original production was deployed. The editing also heightens the dynamism, and makes this a great cinematic musical in my humble opinion.
 

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