Shampoo (1975)

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Released 10-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Trailer-Mr. Deeds, Bugsy, Cactus Flower
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 105:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Hal Ashby
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Warren Beatty
Julie Christie
Goldie Hawn
Lee Grant
Jack Warden
Tony Bill
George Furth
Jay Robinson
Ann Weldon
Luana Anders
Randy Scheer
Susanna Moore
Carrie Fisher
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Paul Simon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Shampoo is one of those films you hear a lot about over the years but, if you are like me, never quite get around to seeing. Whether it be in a documentary about film such as A Decade Under The Influence or while reading a coffee table book about influential 1970s film, it seems to pop up frequently. So, to finally get a chance to see it was somewhat rewarding.

    Made in 1975 and set on the eve of the 1968 US Presidential election, it is a biting satire on the sexual revolution of the late 1960s. Directed by Hal Ashby (famous for other classic satires such as Harold and Maude, and Being There) it stars, amongst others, Warren Beatty as himself, sorry I mean George Roundy. George is a hairdresser. But he's not just any hairdresser - you see he is actually pretty good at it and as a result has the ladies queuing up to see him. But George just doesn't do the ladies' hair. When he says he does many women, he means it. Not content with just styling or blow drying, George manages to bed just about every woman he comes into contact with. The film plays out in a time period of a little over 24 hours. George is hopping out of the bed of one of his conquests, Felicia (Lee Grant), and heading home to current girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn). Now George is not all that happy with his working life, employed by a mediocre hairdresser who is nowhere near the stylist that George is. George wants to open his own shop, but his lack of funds or any chance of a loan from the bank makes this quite the impossible dream. Fortunately, current mistress the wealthy Felicia wants to help, and so she asks her husband Lester (Jack Warden) to consider investing in George's business, completely unaware that his wife is more than just a concerned customer of George's.

    George meets with Lester and at his office runs into Lester's current mistress, Jackie Shawn (Julie Christie), who quite obviously George has bedded before at some time and still feels quite an attraction to. Lester is interested in the business proposal and invites George to attend an election night party with him. At this party George manages to be in the same room as his current girlfriend, current mistress, former girlfriend, and a host of other women whom he has obviously had the pleasure of doing more with than just a cut and wave. Things rapidly escalate out of control of course with drink, drugs, and latent sexual urgings all coming to the fore. Before long many of the main characters are doing things they will probably regret, while George is beginning to look at his life in a whole new way.

    This is a biting satire on the sexually-charged era of the late 1960s, where frequent bed-hopping and a complete lack of relationship commitment was considered acceptable. It won't be to everyone's taste, and you certainly need to be in the right mood to enjoy or appreciate it. I remember the first time I ever saw Being There, I thought to myself "what is this rubbish?". But the second time I watched, in the right mood for a satire about life and death, I laughed harder than I had done for some time. Shampoo is exactly the same. Unfortunately it probably hasn't aged as well as some of the other Hal Ashby films, with many of the antics and laughable situations being pretty much old-hat in these far more sophisticated sexual times that we now live. I can imagine the language used in the film would have been highly controversial at the time, with both the "F" and even the taboo "C" word used throughout. What this film does excel at, though, is capturing the mood and times of the American nation in the late 1960s to perfection. It's like a snapshot in time and should be appreciated for that alone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in its original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced.

    From the incredibly dim and grimy opening scenes, this is a pretty average looking transfer all round with only a moderate level of sharpness and some scattered edge enhancement contained throughout. Several scenes offer a definitely below-average effort in clarity and detail. Shadow detail is compromised on several occasions and with much of the film taking place across one night there are plenty of scenes that fall foul of this problem. Grain is problematic across much of the image, in particular the outside daytime scenes (there are only a couple). Thankfully there is no low level noise.

    Colours are really quite dull with little in the way of vibrancy. Black levels do not reach any great height, appearing quite grey at times. This is a little unfortunate since most of the film occurs across one night with lots of darkness.

    There are no compression artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are quite limited in appearance, with a tiny bit of aliasing on a couple of surfaces. Film artefacts are present, but certainly not to the extent I was expecting.

    There are several subtitle options available. The English variety are accurate enough without being completely perfect.

    This is a single layered disc so there is no layer change.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are a total of five audio soundtracks on this disc. A Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack is joined by French, German, Italian, and Spanish soundtracks of similar specification. Mostly a dialogue orientated film, the lack of a wide and open soundstage is not really missed all that much. There are few chances for any directional effects with the odd hairdryer and motorcycle being about the limit of the loud noises.

    The dialogue, which makes up a significant proportion of this film, sounds quite lacking in fidelity and is somewhat harsh in delivery. Audio sync wavers on occasion, most notably from ADR looping in some scenes and cannot be attributed to the transfer process.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer

    There is no sign of the theatrical trailer for Shampoo. What we have here are three bonus trailers for Bugsy, Cactus Flower, and Mr Deeds. An odd assortment if ever there was one.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 disc has three extra soundtracks (German, Italian, and Spanish), while the Region 1 disc is a dual sided disc containing a 1.33:1 aspect ratio version of the film on the other side. Other than that the discs are identical.

Summary

    Shampoo is a somewhat interesting film. Made in 1975 and set in the sexual revolution era of 1968 it is obviously a product of its times. In 2004 it does look and feel incredibly dated with the obvious ludicrous fashions leading the way in the cheese stakes. The years have also not been kind to the satire element, particularly the sexual antics of the lead character. In the mid 70s you would certainly find yourself cackling with glee at what he got up to, but having seen the sexual revolution come and go and the safe-sex message come and go, there really isn't much here that you will not have seen many, many times over.

    The video and audio transfers are wholly unremarkable, and there are virtually no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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