47 FILMS: 60. SHAMPOO

In our increasingly innumerate series of 47 films to see before death, we present Hal Ashby’s Shampoo.

Warren Beatty as a megastar is something of a fading memory. His director’s career hasn’t been as prolific as contemporary Clint Eastwood. Even as an actor, appearances diminished over the years. His big flop Ishtar became a smudge on his bankability. When a hit arrived with Dick Tracy, it never transformed into the kind of franchise to establish him in the minds of a new generation. But his star shone brightly. With films such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Parallax View and Splendor in the Grass, Beatty straddled Hollywood leading man status with a keen eye for the counter-cultural moments of the time. His appearance in Hal Ashby’s Shampoo is a case in point.

Scripted by Robert Towne in collaboration with Beatty, Shampoo tells the story of a hairdresser George (Beatty) who is looking to open his own shop. He swings from an obvious artistry to his profoundly wide-ranging libido. With multiple affairs going on, the husband of one of his lovers Lester (Jack Warden) might be willing to put up the money. It just so happens though that Lester’s extra-marital affair is with Jackie (Julie Christie), one of George’s exs. Goldie Hawn plays George’s current girlfriend, who herself is having to choose between her career and her relationship with George. Thinking George is gay (a hairdresser), Lester asks him to chaperone Jackie to a political fundraiser he will be attending with his wife.

Politics

The synopsis is one thing. It sets up very obvious ideas and oppositions. The cuckold versus Lothario, the artist versus the capitalist. In the background we also have a very obvious counterpoint in the Nixon Presidency and his famed Silent Majority versus the Hollywood based counterculture. What today we call the liberal elite. All of this works. But what it misses is the way Ashby brings out the other characters. A throwaway and thankless part like George’s boss at the salon is suddenly struck by the death of a loved one in an accident. Lester himself reads as a cardboard cut out. And yet Warden gives the character real sadness. He’s genuinely lost in a changing world. George himself comes across as a deeper man than we first assume. Just like Beatty, we can dismiss him as a hairdo attached to a penis, but despite his protestations and his selfishness, he harbors genuine sensitivity.

The razor sharp script, the excellent acting – a young Carrie Fisher makes her debut – and Ashby’s sensitive direction make Shampoo a brilliant portrait of a moment in time (1968), when things looked like they might change. And they did but not in the direction we hoped.

For more of our 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams CLICK HERE.

WARREN BEATTY BEQUEATHS PENIS TO THE SMITHSONIAN

HOLLYWOOD – Warren Beatty bequeaths his love pencil to the Smithsonian Institution.

Splendor in the Grass actor Warren Beatty announced that his Dick Tracy will go to the Smithsonian, following negotiations that involved many leading museums in pursuit of the much vaunted organ. Beatty told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

The Smithsonian is the biggest, and in the end that’s what it came down to. We did have some very generous approaches from other institutions in New York and Los Angeles. Even Europe got in on the game with the Louvre making a late bid. But the Beatty Love Bus has finally found its parking garage.

When Beatty dies, his passion pillar will be removed and frozen in carbonite ‘like Han Solo’. They will then transport the member by Jumbo Jet to the Smithsonian. Here, it will have pride of place in a new ‘Sex Bits that Wrote History’ exhibit. Museum archivist Patricia Quant told the Exec:

Usually we’re interested in artifacts or documents or works of art. But with Warren Beatty’s one-eyed trouser snake we’re talking about something that has not only been historic in itself but has touched so many historic places. To be able to hold it in our hands – hopefully many, many years from now – will be like holding history itself.

Beatty’s willy will take its place beside Picasso’s ‘old man’, Hitler’s one ball and Mother Teresa’s massive vagina.

Warren Beatty’s penis is currently available for private viewings only.

 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT MADONNA

HOLLYWOOD – Following her recent fall at the Brits, the Studio Exec FACT Squad was given the mission to find out more about this woman called Madonna.

This is what we discovered:

1. Born in Bay City, Michigan in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone started her singing career in The Breakfast Club, a band in which she played guitar and drums as well as singing. Her career really took off with Holiday, Borderline and Like a Virgin in the mid-eighties. At this stage of her career Madonna had not fallen over at the Brits.

2. Once her career in the music business was established, the ambitious young singer started to look abroad, fancying herself as an actress. She appeared in a series of moderately successful films with the odd flop. In Shanghai Surprise she starred alongside her troubled husband Sean Penn. Although there were incidents of domestic abuse, up to this point Madonna has still failed to fall over at the Brits.

3. The True Blue period of her career began with the release of the album True Blue in 1986. Dedicated to her then husband Penn, the marriage was to break down in 1990, with divorce proceedings being filed, citing irreconcilable differences. Despite her personal difficulties her career was soaring and her tours were breaking attendance records everywhere. And yet her ability to not fall over in a humiliating way at an unimportant British awards events was beginning to cause concern, even among hard core Madonna-ers as her fans prefer to be called.

4. Now came perhaps the most controversial part of her career, her role as Breathless Mahoney in the Warren Beatty movie Dick Tracy. Everyone agreed it was kind of rubbish, but fortunately she managed to rescue her reputation with the wonderful Justify My Love, a song which pushed boundaries of taste and explicitness. Already a gay icon, this seemed to be a role she embraced using images of same sex kissing in the video and promoting AIDs charities. She appeared in Evita, married and more importantly divorced Guy Ritchie, wrote children’s books, flirted with archaic Jewish spiritualism, directed two movies and continued to reinvent herself in such a way as to keep her music before the public eye, an inspiration to all. Many now believed that falling down the stairs was beyond her and that her career would basically be viewed as a failure.

5. Finally, on the 25th of February, 2015, Madonna Louise Ciccone finally achieved the apex of her career and fell down the stairs. The hilarity that ensued ranks alongside the lynch mob mentality that goes after John Travolta as proof that we are an ungrateful, unforgiving fickle bunch of animals who wish only to tear into whoever is perceived as lagging regardless of their past achievements.

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WARREN BEATTY WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF HIS NEW FILM

warren beatty



HOLLYWOOD – Warren Beatty has revealed that the subject of his new epic film about an eccentric millionaire will actually be about him and the title has accordingly changed to Beatty.
Industry insider Jonas Patina said:

It’s hard today to recall what Warren Beatty was to seventies cinema. He made film after film, from Bonnie and Clyde to Reds, but he was also famous for his vanity. So much so that Carly Simon wrote a song about it called ‘You’re so Vain’. He was like a talented James Franco.

The new film will star Warren Beatty as himself relating his life to an unnamed journalist played by Anthony Hopkins. James Franco as a younger Beatty will have the lion’s share of screen time. Franco told the Studio Exec:

Warren has always dreamed of working with me and it is moving to see that dream finally come true. I can’t help but smile when I see his eyes light up every time he sees me. I know it’s condescending but I don’t care. It’s true.

 Beatty will be released in 2016.