Movie Information

The Asheville Film Society will screen Hair on Tuesday, March 6, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther. Hanke is the artistic director of the A.F.S.
Genre: Musical
Director: Milos Forman
Starring: John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, Don Dacus, Cheryl Barnes
Rated: PG

Milos Forman’s Hair (1979) is a film that they simply waited too long to make—at least so far as the box office was concerned. The popularity of the stage musical was long over by 1979, and the clearly anti-establishment tone of the film was not quite in keeping with the mood of the moment. Despite being heavily covered by the film publications of the era (after all, this was Forman’s first film since his 1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), the movie was a massive flop when it first appeared. This probably pleased the original show’s authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado, who were less than delighted by the changes the film made—like giving it an entirely different story. That the stage musical could have been filmed is fairly ludicrous, since it was so much a product of its time. Forman’s approach was to make a film about that time, and it largely works—perhaps better today than it did when the movie came out. Oh, it has some problems—a few of the numbers, especially the LSD wedding, seem to go on forever—but it has more going for it than against it, not in the least the fact that Forman proves to have a natural affinity for filming musical numbers. What’s particularly surprising today is that the film secured a PG rating. The thematic material and drug use would not get that rating today, while the length of Beverly D’Angelo’s totally not-coy topless scene would bring it an R by itself. Have we actually become that much more prudish since 1979? I’m afraid we have.


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.