Happy Hippie Me Today


A few days ago, we watched the movie version of Hair, based on the hippie musical with good music and practically no plot. In fact, what plot WAS there was pretty much a downer, as Claude ended up having to go to Vietnam despite the ideals he and his friends held. I guess The Man always prevails after all. I can’t help but feeling that, in some ways, mixing drug use, free love, and not bathing with the protest against the Vietnam War kind of obscured the valid points they were making. Oh, well. I like to think society has learned its lesson from that era, yet we somehow keep electing people who haven’t to Congress. Anyway, I had seen a production of Hair in college (and no, it didn’t have any nudity). The movie was made in 1979, hence when the counterculture depicted was largely a thing of the past, and made some significant changes. While the play was pretty minimalistic, the film had more of a story, and made use of its New York setting. Apparently the creators of the musical weren’t all that happy with it, seeing it as unconnected to the peace movement. I think you could make a case for the movie taking a less positive view of the characters. Berger in particular is presented as a guy with no respect for boundaries, who crashes a party, carjacks an acquaintance, feels up a woman without her permission, and punches Claude at one point (so much for peace and love). It ends with a comedy of errors resulting in Berger ending up in Vietnam in Claude’s place and dying there. Oh, and getting back to the nudity, you can see Beverly D’Angelo topless, despite the film being rated PG. Also, Charlotte Rae dances on a table at one point. The whole thing is kind of an oddity, really.

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