Big Gay Andy

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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.
I agree 100% -- and I forgot to mention that Twyla Tharp's choreography is awesome.
 
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lark144

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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.
No hostility. You have every right to adore it, if that's the way you feel. But a lot of us loved the original show, and feel the film does not even attempt to capture what we loved about the show, what made it different. In fact, I saw both "Hair and "A Chorus Line" in workshop at the Public Theater, and "Hair" struck me as the better production. While "A Chorus Line" was of a very identifiable world, "Hair" created a wonderful world of its own, between the audience and the performers, that existed in the time we were together in the theater, but none of that particular magic that was unique to the show is in the film at all.

Milos Forman decided to make a film that's completely different from the show in almost every way. That's his right, but it's also our right, those of us who saw the original production, to dislike what he did. Compared to the original production, the film of "Hair" is extremely "mannered and studied" & the performances are very "arch and self-conscious" and just plain inappropriate. Not necessarily in themselves, but compared to the original production of "Hair" they most certainly are.

As a version of the musical "Hair" this film does not work at all. Yes, this is an opinion, but one based on comparing the two works. I don't really have an opinion on the film in itself, because it's "supposed" to be "Hair", except it's not. It's something else.

It's perfectly ok for you to love that "something else", but I and many other people on this board who saw and loved the original show back in the late 1960's don't. But our disapproval has nothing to do with the film in itself. I can't judge the film in a vacuum because I was expecting to see "Hair" & while it may be wonderful by itself, it suffers by comparison.

But I'm not hostile towards Forman's film & Ms. Twarp's choreography. Just very disappointed.
 
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Big Gay Andy

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I can actually see both sides of this issue. I never saw the stage productions of Hair or Torch Song Trilogy -- just the movies, both of which I love very much. In both cases I've heard "The play was better." On the other hand, I did see the stage version of A Chorus Line three times and loved it (also loved the album which I played to death), and I did not like the movie -- didn't even watch the whole thing.
 
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cinemiracle

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I can actually see both sides of this issue. I never saw the stage productions of Hair or Torch Song Trilogy -- just the movies, both of which I love very much. In both cases I've heard "The play was better." On the other hand, I did see the stage version of A Chorus Line three times and loved it (also loved the album which I played to death), and I did not like the movie -- didn't even watch the whole thing.
Seeing a show live is always far better than seeing it on film. TORCH SONG TRILOGY was 3 hours long on stage-the film was much shorter and had very much less of an impact on me than the film did. HAIR the movie was very disappointing after seeing the stage show back in the late sixties. That was a masterpiece of an experience like no other and audiences were able to dance on stage with the cast at the end. I did see HAIR on stage again more than a decade ago but it failed to have the same impact as it did in the sixties.A CHORUS LINE is my all time favourite stage musical.Such a pity that the film such a disaster.
 

Big Gay Andy

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When the movie version of Torch Song Trilogy first came out, Harvey Fierstein acknowleged in interviews that the film version was pared-down from the play and indicated that the missing material had indeed been filmed and would be re-inserted for the home video version. He never did so, however -- not for the VHS, the laserdisc, the DVD, or even the Blu-ray.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Such a polarizing topic. My two cents is that both presentations; play and film, can exist as separate but entertaining entities. What I most recall about the play, besides the nudity (Heather MacRae!) (hey, I was a pubescent male) and the great tunes, was there really was no solid narrative or plot; it was all over the place. But the energy and vitality of seeing it live: you can't match it.

What the film sought to do, whether you feel it succeeded or not, was to weave a semblance of one narrative around the songs, and I feel it did an admirable job. And some of the numbers really stand out from the original ("Easy to be Hard," "Black Boys/White Boys").

What I really want to know is, already owning the previous blu-ray release; is the Olive release worth the upgrade? Harris seems to say so just for the extras. PQ not improved. Just want to hear any other thoughts about the extras.
 
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Big Gay Andy

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Picture quality is improved, at least to my eyes -- and yes, the extras are very much worth the upgrade. Treat Williams is on the commentary along with the assistant director, and the rest of the principal cast (all of whom have great stories to tell) sit for new on-camera interviews, as do Twyla Tharp, the film's art director, and director James Mangold who was a student in Milos Forman's directing class and reminisces about Forman's career, analyzes the film, and recalls an important incident where Forman helped him shape the direction of Heavy, his directorial debut. Fascinating stuff.
 
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MatthewA

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I still don't necessarily believe in this case that a movie that tried to copy the play more closely would have been more successful. Godspell tried to do that and flopped. This movie at least holds up as a movie and plays exceptionally well on the big screen, as the Castro Theatre in SF got a 4k master to screen a couple of years ago.

But the two parts on the original soundtrack LP whose absence from the movie is the most inexplicable are Nell Carter singing the pledge of allegiance and Charlotte Rae's solo number "My Conviction" (she talks about recording and filming it only to learn of its excision in her autobiography, The Facts of My Life). Why are songs so often the first to go when musicals get cut down to what studios consider a reasonable running time? Hey genius, this is what we came for!

Milos Forman was reportedly horrified when he saw the "edited for television" version of the film. Half the songs were gone, the language bleeped, and the nudity censored. This led him to become an advocate for artists' rights.
 
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Broadwayboy

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I love both the play and the movie adaptation, two different animals for sure, but I think I prefer the movie a little more. I was excited to receive the new Olive release and did a quick comparison with the Fox Blu-ray for a few of my favorite scenes. Color and sound are definitely improved on the new release. But I was quite disappointed to see that Olive only included 8 chapters, whereas Fox included 45. It makes it quite a chore to get to individual songs now. Fortunately, Cheryl Barnes' "Easy to be Hard" (maybe my favorite number) is one of the 8. I remember the audience applauding her in the movie theater after she sang that song...maybe the only time I've ever seen that in a movie theater.
 
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Big Gay Andy

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>>I remember the audience applauding her in the movie theater after she sang that song...maybe the only time I've ever seen that in a movie theater.<<

I'm assuming, then, that you've never seen a Barbra Streisand musical in a movie theater?
 

Matt Hough

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>>I remember the audience applauding her in the movie theater after she sang that song...maybe the only time I've ever seen that in a movie theater.<<

I'm assuming, then, that you've never seen a Barbra Streisand musical in a movie theater?
When I saw That's Entertainment! at the Ziegfeld in New York the second week of its release (sold out house with hyper-enthusiastic crowds), many of the numbers were met with thunderous applause. Also, during that pan of the MGM stars during the 25th anniversary luncheon, applause broke out for many of the greats. Judy Garland/Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, and Spencer Tracy garnered the greatest hands.
 

Broadwayboy

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>>I remember the audience applauding her in the movie theater after she sang that song...maybe the only time I've ever seen that in a movie theater.<<

I'm assuming, then, that you've never seen a Barbra Streisand musical in a movie theater?
I’ve seen all 6 of them in theaters. The first 3 were in revival houses and the last 3 were in first-run theaters. Nope, no applause for Babs.
 

Big Gay Andy

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I’ve seen all 6 of them in theaters. The first 3 were in revival houses and the last 3 were in first-run theaters. Nope, no applause for Babs.
I obviously don't know where you live, but I live in L.A. and I've seen Barbra's musicals (and, for that matter, her non-musicals) in theaters like the Egyptian, the Vista, the Tiffany, and the Arclight Hollywood. Even the Funny Girl overture gets applause, and audiences have applauded Barbra's musical numbers as enthusiastically as if she were performing them live in concert. I've also attended numerous screenings of Judy Garland's A Star Is Born and the reaction to Judy's numbers is the same as for Barbra's.
 

MatthewA

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It obviously helped Lurleen Lumpkin Beverly D'Angelo's career since she went from this to playing the Patsy Cline to Sissy Spacek's Oscar-winning Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.
 
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John Skoda

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One thing that always confused me about this movie on home video is the printed credits always say "Panavision and Technicolor" but it's always been 1.85:1 and not 2.35:1. Those credits are a mistake, aren't they? Lots of movies are shot with Panavision equipment, but to say "In Panavision" in the credits implies anamorphic.
 

Worth

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One thing that always confused me about this movie on home video is the printed credits always say "Panavision and Technicolor" but it's always been 1.85:1 and not 2.35:1. Those credits are a mistake, aren't they? Lots of movies are shot with Panavision equipment, but to say "In Panavision" in the credits implies anamorphic.
It's not uncommon to see mistakes in credits. 'Filmed in Panavision' is supposed to mean shot with anamorphic lenses and 'filmed with Panavision equipment' is supposed to mean shot with spherical lenses. But even Seinfeld says 'filmed in Panavision' in the credits.
 

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