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March 09, 2006

The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part Four


Shampoo, 1975

Yes, the biggie, the classic. There's a lot to say about Shampoo, and a lot of good stuff has been written already.

In my view, this was a transitional movie in Goldie Hawn's career. She was thirty when the film came out. As Warren Beatty's girlfriend Jill, you still see the cute vulnerable waif from her previous comedies, but you also see flashes of the more assertive Goldie Hawn characters of the eighties and nineties. There's even a hint of that whininess she later honed to perfection in Bird On A Wire, Overboard and Private Benjamin.

Make no mistake, Shampoo is a Warren Beatty - Julie Christie vehicle, and Goldie is a supporting player.* But she had definitely arrived by 1975, and being cast in this film was merely proof of the fact.

Shampoo is another bedroom farce, but a vastly different one from Cactus Flower. Although set in 1968 (election day to be exact), Shampoo is a movie of the Seventies, or more accurately, that part of the Seventies which inspired the phrase "The Me Decade." Instead of slamming doors, each peccadillo is punctuated by a shot of Beatty tearing across Beverly Hills on his little Triumph 500.


Shampoo is about fucking. As much as each character can get away with. It's a very pre-aids movie. For a script that took eight years to write ― and the writing process was contentious at times ― there's not much of a plot. In a sense it's very much like a Dazed And Confused for the over 30 set. All the action takes place within about a 48 hour period. Beatty plays a vacant hairdresser juggling at least three women at the same time. Goldie is his easily manipulated girlfriend. Julie Christie plays an old flame who's also Goldie's best friend. And Lee Grant plays a client who's giving him a little something something on the side. Grant won an Academy Award for the role.

I must confess I didn't like Shampoo at first, mainly because I'm not a big fan of Warren Beatty. I hated Bullworth and Dick Tracy. And I was ambivalent about Bugsy, although I thought Splendor In The Grass and Reds were fantastic. But Shampoo has grown on me with each viewing. What it lacks in plot, it makes up in great lines. Like these:

GEORGE: Ever listen to women talk? I do till it's running out my ears. They only talk about one thing, How some guy fucked them over. That's all that's on their minds.
Lol. I hate to say it, but that's true in many cases. Not mine of course.

Here's some more classic dialogue. Lorna is the teenage daughter of one of the women Beatty's character is banging. She's played by Carrie Fisher in her first feature film role. I love this banter.

LORNA: Are you gay?... baked apple?... they're cold but they're good.

GEORGE: No thanks.

LORNA: Did you hear me?


LORNA: Well, are you? Are you queer?

GEORGE: yeah.

LORNA: (laughing) C'mon, are you or aren't you?

GEORGE: Gee, this is great.

He slices a piece of cheesecake. Lorna sits down, in the
chair nearest him now.

LORNA: C'mon, tell me. Don't be afraid.

GEORGE: Why do you wanna know so bad?

LORNA: See if you've been making it with my mother.

GEORGE: What would my being a faggot have to do with that?

LORNA: (shrugs) Nothing, I guess... have you ever made it with a guy?

GEORGE: Have you ever made it with a girl?

LORNA: I asked you first.

GEORGE: Yeah... I've made it with a girl...

Lorna smiles. A pause.

LORNA: Well, are you?

GEORGE: Am I what?

LORNA: Making it with my mother?

They end up screwing, of course.

There's two or three scenes with Goldie that blew me away. The first that comes to mind is a short scene when Goldie is walking home from an audition, and stops at a fruit stand. It shows the actress's maturation from a comedienne who delivers lines with great timing, to an actress who can show her inner dialogue without speaking a line.


You know she's obsessing over her fight with George, and whether or not to take that acting job, and you can see it all in her face, along with her character's indecisiveness and insecurity. Then she picks up an apple, and for just a moment, you watch her agonize over whether to buy the apple or not until she finally tosses it back in the bin. It's really hilarious.

The shot below is from another scene I love. It shows Goldie just after she got out of a porsche at the election night party, and her boyfriend Beatty is there escorting her best friend into the restaurant. Goldie shoots him a look that is pure daggers. And Beatty has this look like, "oh shit, this is going to be a long night." And it was.


By the way, the silver dress she wore for that election night party was simply adorable, and about as short as legally possible.

There's another great scene at a psychedelic party on a large Beverly Hills estate. Jack Warden's character and Goldie's happen to bust in on Warren Beatty and Julie Christie while they're fucking in the poolhouse. Julie Christie plays Warden's mistress, and Goldie's best friend, so you can imagine both of them are horrified at this discovery. But their reactions are the exact opposite of what you'd expect. It's a terrific scene.

My rating was three stars (liked it), definitely worth a rental. Next up on the AJFF: The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox.

* Goldie also starred opposite Warren Beatty in 1971's Dollars. Unfortunately, that film is not yet on DVD, and therefore Netflix doesn't carry it.

Posted by annika, Mar. 9, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Let's Go To Hollywood


What I remember about Shampoo is a Warren Beatty line. Warren says nothing improves your appearance more than a great haircut. If you are going to spend money on your appearance, spend money on your haircut first.

I have gotten expensive great haircuts ever since, and I have never been sorry. Thank you, Warren.

Posted by: Jake on Mar. 9, 2006

LOVE this movie! thanks for the link, girl - I'm a huge Goldie Hawn fan. The other night, Foul Play was on TV and I watched it for the first time in, oh, 15 years?? It was so enjoyable. She's wonderful.

Posted by: red on Mar. 9, 2006

I had forgotten all about this movie. The poolhouse scene was ripe with the suspense of the refrigerator door slowly opening to light up the couple on the floor.

And then George loses out in the end, though I'm sure he's simply off to his next conquests the next day.

Posted by: will on Mar. 9, 2006

Everybody says she and her daughter look similiar...which is true. But, Goldie in her prime was WAY WAY WAY hotter.

Posted by: Blu on Mar. 9, 2006

You are right to say that it was a movie of the times. It seems somewhat dated now, but I loved it when it came out. Goldie was best in the scene when she confronts Beatty over his indiscretions. That was the first time I thought she really showed any acting chops.
Most important to me was the breakout comedy performance of Jack Warden, Warden was a great character actor who only got good rolls after he had turned 50. He was even better in the next Beatty movie, Heaven Can wait, then he was hilarious in Used Cars with Kurt Russell (another Goldie connection). Another fine performance was in SO FINE with Ryan ONeil. And who can forget him as the insane Judge in The Brethren?

Posted by: Kyle N on Mar. 9, 2006

I love Jack Warden!! He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Why I know that, I have no idea. But he's a terrific actor as well.

Posted by: red on Mar. 9, 2006

Oh, I forgot all about Heaven Can Wait. Great movie.

Posted by: annika on Mar. 9, 2006


Like your name.

Posted by: Blu on Mar. 10, 2006