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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New conversation between critics Mark Harris and Frank Rich
  • Excerpt from a 1998 appearance by producer, cowriter, and actor Warren Beatty on The South Bank Show
  • Trailer
  • An essay by Frank Rich

Shampoo

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Hal Ashby
1975 | 109 Minutes | Licensor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #947
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: October 16, 2018
Review Date: October 10, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

Shampoo gives us a day in the life of George, a Beverly Hills hairdresser and Lothario who runs around town on the eve of the 1968 presidential election trying to make heads or tails of his financial and romantic entanglements. His attempts to scrape together the money to open his own salon are continually sidetracked by the distractions presented by his loversóplayed brilliantly by Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, and Lee Grant (in an Oscar-winning performance). Star Warren Beatty dreamed up the project, cowrote the script with Robert Towne, and enlisted Hal Ashby as director, and the resulting carousel of doomed relationships is an essential seventies farce, a sharp look back at the sexual politics and self-absorption of the preceding decade.


PICTURE

Hal Ashbyís Shampoo comes to Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection, presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc. The 1080p/24hz high-definition encode comes from a new 4K restoration, scanned from the 35mm original camera negative.

The film gets a lot of room to breathe on this disc and it pays off in spades. It is an incredibly film-like looking image, sharp and crisp with nary an artifact sticking out. The film is quite grainy, but it looks clean and natural, perfect really, which then aids in the level of clarity. In this regard the picture never falters, delivering a high level of detail in both long shots and close-ups. Shadow details are also pretty good thanks to the strong black levels.

Despite a few pops here and there of yellow and red the colours can look a bit dull but I think this is intentional (the colours have always looked this way). The restoration has also cleaned up all bits of damage; I donít recall a single flaw or spec popping up at any time. Itís an exceptional looking picture, one of the best ones Iíve come across this year.

10/10

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AUDIO

The film comes with two audio options, both in an English: the original monaural track presented in lossless 1.0 PCM, followed by a remastered 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround track. Theyíre both fine, though I guess I do somewhat question why they would bother with the 5.1 track. The monaural track is perfectly fine: itís not all that robust but fidelity is decent, dialogue is clear, and the music that appears sounds fine. The 5.1 track is a little more dynamic, with better clarity and fidelity, but despite filling out the fronts a bit itís still essentially a mono track at heart. I didnít notice much in the way of activity elsewhere and I forgot I was watching a 5.1 track half the time.

Again both are perfectly fine but it will come down to personal preference.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is another fairly big title for Criterion yet there is shockingly little on it. There is a 12-minute excerpt from a 1998 airing of The South Bank Show, featuring an interview with Warren Beatty, who I assume was promoting Bulworth at the time. In this excerpt Beatty talks about the opening that came about between the end of the studio system and the release of blockbusters that allowed for movies like Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider. He also talks a little about the development around Shampoo and responses to that film, but there is more focus on Bonnie and Clyde, Beatty even sharing some stories behind the filmís sound design.

There is then a 30-minute discussion between critics Mark Harris and Frank Rich. Itís fine, just some general banter between the two about the filmís look, barriers it broke, how its aged, and its time capsule look at sexual politics of the time, along with its general look at politics. Itís an easy discussion to listen to but not eye-opening in any way.

The release then closes off with an insert featuring a rather short essay by Frank Rich, summarizing content found in the interview.

Iím rather stunned there isnít much else here, and what is here is pretty thin, even if the Beatty interview proves to be energetic.

3/10

CLOSING

The couple features we get are pretty thin, so it makes this a bit of an odd release, but at the very least the presentation is stellar.


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