Milos Forman had already proven his talent with TAKING OFF and the multiple-Oscar-winning ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEXT, but when the Czech director was chosen to make this very American film, based on the long-running Broadway play, some wondered about the combination. They needn't have
Savage plays a square draftee from Oklahoma on his way to Vietnam via New York City. There, he is adopted by a group of flower children who guide him through a series of euphoric countercultural adventures, including an introduction to marijuana and an encounter with a slightly batty debutante
(D'Angelo). Along the way, there are many excellent songs and some of the most inventive choreography (by the ingenious Twyla Tharp) ever seen, including a "horse ballet" by mounted police in Central Park where they have been assigned to observe a "be-in."
There is much to recommend in this film, and sheer energy pours off the screen in every frame. Forman and scenarist Michael Weller deftly synthesized the pastiche of sketches and tunes that comprised the stage musical into a compelling screen entertainment. Unfortunately, the movie was not a hit,
perhaps because HAIR was made almost 12 years after the play opened and, while dated, was not quite ready to be enjoyed nostalgically.
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