Hair (1979)

PG | 120 mins | Musical | 14 March 1979

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HISTORY

End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: The City of New York: Mayor Ed Koch; Gordon J. Davis, Commissioner of Parks; Lt. Paul Glanzman; The Astoria Studios; National Park Service, National Capital Region: Jack Fish, Director, National Capital Parks; George Berklacy, Asst. to Regional Director, Public Affairs; New Jersey Film Commission; The State of California.”
       A film adaptation of the Tony Award-nominated musical Hair was in development since the show’s initial success on Broadway, where it opened 29 Apr 1968 at New York City’s Biltmore Theatre. On 6 Oct 1968, NYT reported that Michael Butler, producer of the original Broadway musical, was negotiating a financing arrangement with Commonwealth United Entertainment. Initially, the filmmakers planned to use the same Broadway cast and crew, and film at a New York City studio. However, the project continued to evolve over the next decade. A 21 Mar 1973 Var article announced that Butler finally acquired film rights from book and lyric authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and composer, Galt MacDermot, for $1 million, but a distribution deal was still pending.
       Other producers who pursued the screen version included Leonard “Buzz” Blair and Robert Stigwood. According to a 13 Feb 1969 HR brief, Blair approached Gene Kelly about directing the film, while Stigwood was interested in directors Ken Russell and Hal Ashby, as noted in a 6 Feb 1976 LAT item.
       In 1976, producer Lester Persky purchased the screen rights from Butler, outbidding Warner Bros. at a price of $1,050,000 million, according to a 4 Apr ... More Less

End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: The City of New York: Mayor Ed Koch; Gordon J. Davis, Commissioner of Parks; Lt. Paul Glanzman; The Astoria Studios; National Park Service, National Capital Region: Jack Fish, Director, National Capital Parks; George Berklacy, Asst. to Regional Director, Public Affairs; New Jersey Film Commission; The State of California.”
       A film adaptation of the Tony Award-nominated musical Hair was in development since the show’s initial success on Broadway, where it opened 29 Apr 1968 at New York City’s Biltmore Theatre. On 6 Oct 1968, NYT reported that Michael Butler, producer of the original Broadway musical, was negotiating a financing arrangement with Commonwealth United Entertainment. Initially, the filmmakers planned to use the same Broadway cast and crew, and film at a New York City studio. However, the project continued to evolve over the next decade. A 21 Mar 1973 Var article announced that Butler finally acquired film rights from book and lyric authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and composer, Galt MacDermot, for $1 million, but a distribution deal was still pending.
       Other producers who pursued the screen version included Leonard “Buzz” Blair and Robert Stigwood. According to a 13 Feb 1969 HR brief, Blair approached Gene Kelly about directing the film, while Stigwood was interested in directors Ken Russell and Hal Ashby, as noted in a 6 Feb 1976 LAT item.
       In 1976, producer Lester Persky purchased the screen rights from Butler, outbidding Warner Bros. at a price of $1,050,000 million, according to a 4 Apr 1979 Var article. Butler and Persky agreed to share producing credit. Once Milos Forman signed on as director, Persky was able to interest United Artists Corp. in distribution. As the production budget escalated to $12 million, plus $5 for marketing expenditures, Persky raised additional financing through CIP, a German investment group.
       Forman explained in a 19 Apr 1979 Rolling Stone interview that he became fascinated by Hair upon seeing the original 1967 Off-Broadway show, produced by Joseph Papp. After an unsuccessful attempt to stage the musical in his home country of Czechoslovakia, he aspired to make a film version, but did not receive a firm offer until Persky contacted him in 1976. By this time, Forman had directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, see entry), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director. Forman auditioned approximately twenty writers before selecting Michael Weller. Together, they changed the musical’s story “from a political commentary into a personal odyssey,” primarily through the character of “Claude,” who was rewritten as a Midwestern farm boy. In the musical, he is member of the hippie community. The picture marked Weller’s debut feature film screenplay, as stated in AMPAS library production files.
       Hair also represented the first feature film choreography credit for Twyla Tharp and the motion picture acting debut of Cheryl Barnes in the role of “Hud’s fiancée.”
       During the casting process, actresses Carrie Fisher and Estelle Parsons were early favorites for leading roles, as mentioned in a 12 Aug 1977 NYT item, while actor Keith Carradine was considered a top choice for the part of “Claude,” as noted in the 6 Feb 1976 LAT brief.
       According to production notes, principal photography began 11 Oct 1977 at St. Marks Place in New York City. However, the naked swimming scene at a Central Park lake was shot during late summer 1977 to take advantage of the warmer weather. Central Park was also the location for musical numbers, “Ain’t Got No,” “Aquarius,” and “Colored Spade” as well as for a “1968-style Be-In,” involving thousands of background actors on Sheep Meadow. In lower Manhattan, the prison sequence was captured at a former a jail on White Street, and the U.S. Customs House stood for the Army induction center. Additional location sites in the New York City-area included the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Washington Square Park, and Pine Street in the financial district. The filmmakers also used courthouses in Weehawken, NJ, and Jersey City, NJ. A 16 Dec 1977 HR column reported that the debutante party was filmed at a Long Island mansion in Mill Neck, NY, known as Oakley Court. The production relocated to Fort Irwin in Barstow, CA, to capture the military base scenes, with the cooperation of the CA National Guard. Another “Be-In” gathering was filmed near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., providing the setting for the musical numbers, “3-5-0-0” and “Let The Sun Shine In.” The picture was shot entirely on location except for the wedding hallucination sequence, which was filmed on a soundstage at Astoria Studios in Queens, NY. The 4 Apr 1979 Var article reported that the eight-month shooting schedule finished during May 1978.
       The first public showing was a preview screening in Denver, CO, according to a 4 Mar 1979 LAT article. The world premiere took place 12 Mar 1979 at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre, as announced in a 6 Mar 1979 HR brief.
       The film was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical and New Star Of The Year (Actor) for Treat Williams. A 1 Aug 1979 LAT news item reported that Hair received two David di Donatello prizes, Italy’s annual film award, for best director and best soundtrack composer in the foreign film categories.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 1979
p. 3, 18.
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1976
Section E, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
4 Mar 1979
Section T, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
15 Mar 1979
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
1 Aug 1979
Section G, p. 7, 9.
New York Times
6 Oct 1968
Section D, p. 19.
New York Times
12 Aug 1977
Section C, p. 7.
New York Times
14 Mar 1979
p. 15.
Rolling Stone
19 Apr 1979.
---
Variety
21 Mar 1973.
---
Variety
14 Mar 1979
p. 21.
Variety
4 Apr 1979.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featuring:
as
"Black Boys" [performers]:
"White Boys" [performers]:
[And]
Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Inc.:
[And]
Dancers:
The Ballet Theatre Foundation's Ballet Repertory Company:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Lester Persky and Michael Butler Production
A Milos Forman Film
Ragni, Rado and MacDermot's
A CIP Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir/1st asst dir
Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Co-dir of photog
Co-dir of photog
2d unit dir cam
Addl photog
Asst cam
Key grip
Gaffer, California unit
Grip, California unit
Cam op, California unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir, California unit
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Film ed
Film ed
Assoc ed
Asst film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Chief carpenter
Scenic artist
Set dec, California unit
Prop master, California unit
Const coord, California unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Asst to Miss Roth
Ward, California unit
MUSIC
Mus arr and cond
Vocal arr and cond
Mus ed
Mus rec eng
Male vocal of "White Boys" rec by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby consultant
Supv sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
Project coord, Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Inc.
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist, California unit
Makeup artist, California unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod for the Broadway stage by
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod office coord
Asst to the dir
Prod accountant
Unit pub
Transportation capt
Equestrian trainer, Dance seq
Flying by
Puppet creations
Casting
Casting
Loc mgr, California unit
Scr supv, California unit
Transportation capt, California unit
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Hair by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, music by Galt MacDermot, lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado (New York, 29 Apr 1968).
SONGS
"Somebody To Hold," music and lyrics by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot, sung by Charlie Brown.
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 March 1979
Premiere Information:
New York opening at Ziegfeld Theatre: 14 March 1979
Los Angeles opening at Cinerama Dome: 15 March 1979
Cannes screening: 10 May 1979
Production Date:
11 October 1977--May 1978
Copyright Claimant:
CIP Film Produktions, G.m.b.H.
Copyright Date:
7 September 1979
Copyright Number:
PA48167
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo® at Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Los Angeles
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®/Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25542
SYNOPSIS

During the late 1960s, naïve Oklahoma farm boy Claude Hooper Bukowski arrives in New York City to sightsee for a couple of days before enlisting in the Army and fighting in Vietnam. In Central Park, he notices three stylish women on horseback, who are being taunted by a group of frolicking hippies. Claude makes eye contact with one of the women, Sheila Franklin, and is immediately entranced. Meanwhile, George Berger, the impulsive, charismatic leader of the hippies, and his three friends, Jeannie Ryan, Lafayette “Hud” Johnson and Woof Daschund, rent a horse and attempt to ride alongside the prim socialites. When the rental horse bolts away, Claude comes to the rescue and reins in the animal. He then gallops past Sheila, showing off his rodeo skills, but she and her friends ride off in another direction. Afterward, Berger invites Claude to smoke marijuana and hang out in the park. Claude is amazed to learn that pregnant Jeannie is unconcerned whether the father of her baby is Woof or Hud. The next morning, as Claude prepares to leave the group, Berger finds a photograph of Sheila in the newspaper, announcing her debutante party. He suggests they attend so Claude can meet the girl. The hippies appear at the formal gathering in their Bohemian attire and mingle as if they were invited. At the dinner table, they are asked to leave, but Berger refuses. As Sheila’s father contacts the police, Berger announces to the astonished guests that Claude is in love with Sheila and wanted to see her one more time before leaving for Vietnam. Meanwhile, ... +


During the late 1960s, naïve Oklahoma farm boy Claude Hooper Bukowski arrives in New York City to sightsee for a couple of days before enlisting in the Army and fighting in Vietnam. In Central Park, he notices three stylish women on horseback, who are being taunted by a group of frolicking hippies. Claude makes eye contact with one of the women, Sheila Franklin, and is immediately entranced. Meanwhile, George Berger, the impulsive, charismatic leader of the hippies, and his three friends, Jeannie Ryan, Lafayette “Hud” Johnson and Woof Daschund, rent a horse and attempt to ride alongside the prim socialites. When the rental horse bolts away, Claude comes to the rescue and reins in the animal. He then gallops past Sheila, showing off his rodeo skills, but she and her friends ride off in another direction. Afterward, Berger invites Claude to smoke marijuana and hang out in the park. Claude is amazed to learn that pregnant Jeannie is unconcerned whether the father of her baby is Woof or Hud. The next morning, as Claude prepares to leave the group, Berger finds a photograph of Sheila in the newspaper, announcing her debutante party. He suggests they attend so Claude can meet the girl. The hippies appear at the formal gathering in their Bohemian attire and mingle as if they were invited. At the dinner table, they are asked to leave, but Berger refuses. As Sheila’s father contacts the police, Berger announces to the astonished guests that Claude is in love with Sheila and wanted to see her one more time before leaving for Vietnam. Meanwhile, Sheila, who has been smoking marijuana with her girl friends, is quietly amused and flattered by the intruders. In court, Claude and the hippies are each sentenced to thirty days in jail unless they can pay the $50 fine. Although Claude has enough money to meet his bail, he reluctantly gives the cash to Berger, who promises to collect bail for everyone once he is released. After an unsuccessful attempt to hustle Sheila and her preppy boyfriend, Steve, Berger approaches his parents. Although his father tells him to get a job, his mother takes him aside and gives him $250. Meanwhile, in jail, Woof refuses to let the barber cut his long blonde hair. Upon release, the group joins a large crowd of counterculture tribes and anti-war protestors in Central Park. There, Claude takes the psychedelic drug LSD and hallucinates about his marriage to Sheila in a Hare Krishna wedding ceremony. When he becomes clearheaded and reunites with Berger and the group later that evening, Sheila is with them. She initially appears shy and indifferent, then summons the courage to swim naked with Claude. However, she runs away angry when Berger sneaks off with their clothes. Although Berger is amused by the prank, Claude reminds him that he is leaving the following day for the army and will not have another chance to see Sheila. A draft dodger, Berger cannot understand why Claude is enlisting, but Claude criticizes Berger for his lack of responsibility. Disappointed, Claude walks away from his new friends. The next day, Claude reports to the Army’s induction center and is transferred to a training base in Nevada. Sometime later, he writes to Sheila. When she shares the letter with Berger, he suggests that the friends should drive to Nevada for a visit. After stealing Steve’s car, Berger, Sheila, Woof, Hud, and Jeannie crowd into the vehicle for the cross-country journey. They are also joined by Hud’s fiancée, who is the mother of Hud’s young son, Lafayette, Jr. Unlike the free-spirited hippies, the young mother worries that Hud has fathered Jeannie’s baby. When the group arrives in Nevada, they are immediately turned away from the base by military police. Determined to see their friend, they devise an alternative plan. At a nearby bar, Sheila flirts with a base officer named Fenton and steals his uniform, while Hud confiscates the man’s car. With a new short haircut, Berger dons the uniform, drives to the gate in Fenton’s car, and is waved past security. Locating Claude in one of the barracks, Berger tries to coax his friend into hiding in the trunk and sneaking off base for a few hours. Although Claude is thrilled about the surprise visit and desperate to reunite with Sheila, he says the plan is too risky, since the base is on alert and recruits are subject to frequent head counts. Berger and Claude then agree to switch places, and Claude drives off base disguised as Officer Fenton. While Claude visits Sheila and the group in the desert, his unit is suddenly deployed overseas. Frightened, Berger is forced to march onto a plane bound for Vietnam. Claude panics when he returns to the base and realizes his friend is gone. Sometime later, at a military cemetery in Washington D.C., the friends mourn Berger’s death, and the peace movement gains momentum. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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