Hair


2h 1m 1979
Hair

Brief Synopsis

A young man joins a hippie commune on the eve of reporting for military service.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Music
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1979
Location
Central Park, New York City, New York, USA; Astoria, New York, USA; Washington Square Park, New York City, New York, USA; Manhattan Detention Complex, Manhattan, New York, USA; Mill Neck, Nassau County, New York, USA; Long Island, New York, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Weehauken, New Jersey, USA; Queens, New York, USA; Fort Irwin, California, USA; Barstow, California, USA; Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Washington, DC, USA; St. Mark's Place, Manhattan, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
Dolby
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

During Vietnam, a small time farm boy enlists in the army and encounters New York City hippie subculture.

Crew

Milton C Burrow

Sound Editor

Neil Burrow

Assistant Editor

Michael Philip Butler

Producer

Joseph Carracciolo

Property Master

Carol Clemente

Production Assistant

Ronald Colby

Location Manager

Gerald Cotts

Camera Operator

Martin Danzig

Location Manager

Gordon Davidson

Sound Editor

John Davis

Assistant Editor

George Detitta

Set Decorator

David Dreyfuss

Production Assistant

James Fanning

Transportation Captain

Vincent Ferardo

Camera Assistant

Howard Feuer

Casting

James Foote

Transportation Captain

Lois Freeman-fox

Assistant Editor

Tom Fritz

Production Assistant

Robert Greenhut

Production Manager

Robert Greenhut

Associate Producer

Al Griswold

Special Effects

Michael Hausman

Assistant Director

Shawn Hausman

Production Assistant

Alan Heim

Editor

Max Henriquez

Makeup

Norman Hollyn

Sound Editor

George Holmes

Gaffer

Chuck Irwin

Sound

Michael Jablow

Associate Editor

Don Jigirolamo

Consultant

Gary Jones

Assistant

Neil L Kaufman

Assistant Editor

Jan Kiesser

Camera Operator

Jerry King

Grip

Lynzee Klingman

Editor

Lois Kramer

Production Coordinator

Richard Kratina

Camera Operator

Ronald Kropf

Construction Coordinator

John Linder

Scenic Artist

Galt Macdermot

Music

Galt Macdermot

Music Conductor

Galt Macdermot

Play As Source Material

Lillian O Macneill

Script Supervisor

Steve Maslow

Sound

Kathy Mcgill

Production Accountant

Harold Michelson

Art Director

Robert J Mills

Makeup

Bob Minkler

Sound

Steve Montgomery

Production Assistant

Chris Newman

Sound

Pat O'connor

Property Master

Jennifer Ogden

Production Assistant

Miroslav Ondricek

Director Of Photography

Albert Ostermaier

Animal Trainer

Richard Pearce

Photography

Lester Persky

Producer

Barbara Pettick

Production Assistant

Michael Peyser

Production Assistant

Thomas Pierson

Music Conductor

Thomas Pierson

Music Arranger

Tom Priestley

Camera Operator

Dick Quinlan

Gaffer

James Rado

Theme Lyrics

James Rado

Play As Source Material

Gerome Ragni

Play As Source Material

Gerome Ragni

Theme Lyrics

Joe Ray

Assistant Director

Larry Reehling

Puppets Design

Ken Rinker

Choreographer

Jeremy Ritzer

Casting

Ann Roth

Costume Designer

Edward Sandlin

Sound Editor

William Sawyer

Sound Editor

Silvio Scarano

Wardrobe

Elisabeth Seley

Wardrobe Supervisor

Anne Stein

Assistant Editor

John Strauss

Sound Editor

Barry Strugatz

Production Assistant

Edward Swanson

Carpenter

Jean Talvin

Camera Operator

Twyla Tharp

Choreographer

Joe Tubens

Hair

Joel Tuber

Assistant Director

Bill Varney

Sound

Vivienne Walker

Hair

Karen Wanderman

Assistant Editor

Stanley Warnow

Editor

Michael Weller

Screenplay

Michael Weller

Screenplay

Jerry Wunderlich

Set Decorator

Stuart Wurtzel

Production Designer

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Music
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1979
Location
Central Park, New York City, New York, USA; Astoria, New York, USA; Washington Square Park, New York City, New York, USA; Manhattan Detention Complex, Manhattan, New York, USA; Mill Neck, Nassau County, New York, USA; Long Island, New York, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Weehauken, New Jersey, USA; Queens, New York, USA; Fort Irwin, California, USA; Barstow, California, USA; Jersey City, New Jersey, USA; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Washington, DC, USA; St. Mark's Place, Manhattan, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
Dolby
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

Hair


Czech-born filmmaker Milos Forman lived through the Nazis, under whom his parents were killed, and the Communists. In a life that has suffered closely the pains of lock-step government, it is perhaps no great surprise that he has long been drawn, especially in his choice of American films, to characters who buck the system.

As fate would have it, one particularly American story would involve Forman for over a decade. Visiting the States in 1967, he found himself at the very first off-Broadway performance of Hair. He was enthralled and, backstage, told the creators, Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot, to keep him in mind if they ever wanted to do a film version. The next year, he had Paramount behind him and the authors' endorsement and went to visit Ragni and Rado in Los Angeles for a key meeting. The two had a Tarot card reader sit in. "Earl" read the cards for 20 minutes or so, looked at Ragni and Rado and shook his head. "No." Forman describes the moment in his memoir Turnaround: "'Sorry guys,' they said matter-of-factly. 'The constellations just aren't in our favor...We've gotta wait.'"

And wait they did. It took almost 10 years for the stars to align. In 1977, producer Lester Persky called. He had the rights and the backing of United Artists. He turned to Forman not just because of his long involvement with the project, but, according to a March, 1979 Life magazine article on the film, because, "He comes from the land of Kafka and he could understand youth in rebellion, since his own country has a tradition of subtle resistance to authority. They've been dominated so often, so long."

Now, however, there was another problem. The late '70s were really too soon after the '60s to feel nostalgic. Mainstream America had already adopted many of that period's trappings and discarded the rest. How to make the movie relevant was a challenge. "Nostalgia happens only when the era stops threatening you with its messiness, contradictions, anarchy and choices. Hair would be nostalgic when lawyers and bankers cut their hair short again," Forman said in Turnaround. Deciding that the "nostalgia deficit" was something for studio marketers to worry about instead, Forman set out to tackle more immediate issues – finding a screenwriter and a choreographer, assembling a large, multi-talented cast; and facing two career firsts at once in directing a period musical.

Large casting calls and an extensive talent search netted some interesting almost-rans for Hair. At the top of the very first sign-in sheet was one Madonna Ciccone. "Somehow I overlooked her among the hundreds of people I saw," said Forman. On another day, the director, who did some of the callbacks at his apartment, got a knock at the door from a wiry, long-haired young man who didn't like the musical and had no interest in being cast, but had promised his agent he would at least see Forman. His name was Bruce Springsteen.

Treat Williams had to come back to audition dozens of times for the role of Berger. He was a strong contender from his stage work in Grease, but the role of Berger had been owned by Jim Ragni, who wanted to play him in the film as well. Though Forman thought Ragni too old to play the part, the writer/actor wasn't ready to hand it over. According to Forman's memoir, when asked to repeat a song one day during yet another audition, a frustrated Williams lost it, physically launching himself at Ragni, perhaps in an effort to literally wrestle the role away from him. Forman gave him the part then and there.

The most impressive audition for the film came from Cheryl Barnes, a young singer who showed up at open auditions. "As she started to sing the tune she had prepared, a hush came over the room. She had a voice like a bell, flawless musicality, and great presence," Forman remembers in Turnaround. A maid in a Maine motel, Barnes had taken the bus into New York for the open call and walked away with the role of Hud's fiancée. Her first take of "Easy to be Hard", thought by many to be the finest version of the song, was reportedly perfect. After shooting wrapped in Barstow, Ca., where Hair's base sequences were filmed, Barnes decided to stay, and though she went through the motions of pursuing a singing career, Hair would be her biggest role.

The only casting regret Forman has is for director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955) in the role of The General. Though he performed well, Ray had to endure clouds of heavy smoke for his big scene, and it was only weeks later that Forman learned he was dying of lung cancer.

Stage maven Twyla Tharp was tapped as choreographer for the film and playwright Michael Weller (Ragtime, 1981), who had recently won praise for his play Moonchildren, about lost '60s renegades, wrote the screenplay. For them, as for Forman, Hair would be a baptism into film musicals.

With a big budget, big cast and an uncertain audience, Hair was a gamble. As Time magazine put it in a March, 1979 article on the film, "One false move, and Hair would have congealed into Grease." Luckily for the film's production team and audiences, that was not the case. "Hair succeeds on all levels," Time went on to say. Though it grossed only $15 million on its $11 million budget and was a disappointment for the studio, the film was generally well reviewed. It was nominated for two Golden Globes and a French Cesar for best foreign film. Many audiences and critics liked the film better than the stage version. In 1979, Hair's release may have been too late for its story to be contemporary and too soon to be nostalgic, but now, almost 30 years later, it may work better on both counts.

Producers: Michael Butler, Lester Persky
Director: Milos Forman
Screenplay: Michael Weller; Gerome Ragni, James Rado (musical book and lyrics)
Cinematography: Richard C. Kratina, Miroslav Ondricek, Jean Talvin
Art Direction: Stuart Wurtzel (production design)
Film Editing: Alan Heim, Stanley Warnow
Cast: John Savage (Claude Hooper Bukowski), Treat Williams (George Berger), Beverly D'Angelo (Sheila Franklin), Annie Golden (Jeannie Ryan), Dorsey Wright (Lafayette aka Hud), Don Dacus (Woof), Cheryl Barnes (Hud's fiancée), Richard Bright (Fenton), Nicholas Ray (the General)
C-121m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Emily Soares
Hair

Hair

Czech-born filmmaker Milos Forman lived through the Nazis, under whom his parents were killed, and the Communists. In a life that has suffered closely the pains of lock-step government, it is perhaps no great surprise that he has long been drawn, especially in his choice of American films, to characters who buck the system. As fate would have it, one particularly American story would involve Forman for over a decade. Visiting the States in 1967, he found himself at the very first off-Broadway performance of Hair. He was enthralled and, backstage, told the creators, Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot, to keep him in mind if they ever wanted to do a film version. The next year, he had Paramount behind him and the authors' endorsement and went to visit Ragni and Rado in Los Angeles for a key meeting. The two had a Tarot card reader sit in. "Earl" read the cards for 20 minutes or so, looked at Ragni and Rado and shook his head. "No." Forman describes the moment in his memoir Turnaround: "'Sorry guys,' they said matter-of-factly. 'The constellations just aren't in our favor...We've gotta wait.'" And wait they did. It took almost 10 years for the stars to align. In 1977, producer Lester Persky called. He had the rights and the backing of United Artists. He turned to Forman not just because of his long involvement with the project, but, according to a March, 1979 Life magazine article on the film, because, "He comes from the land of Kafka and he could understand youth in rebellion, since his own country has a tradition of subtle resistance to authority. They've been dominated so often, so long." Now, however, there was another problem. The late '70s were really too soon after the '60s to feel nostalgic. Mainstream America had already adopted many of that period's trappings and discarded the rest. How to make the movie relevant was a challenge. "Nostalgia happens only when the era stops threatening you with its messiness, contradictions, anarchy and choices. Hair would be nostalgic when lawyers and bankers cut their hair short again," Forman said in Turnaround. Deciding that the "nostalgia deficit" was something for studio marketers to worry about instead, Forman set out to tackle more immediate issues – finding a screenwriter and a choreographer, assembling a large, multi-talented cast; and facing two career firsts at once in directing a period musical. Large casting calls and an extensive talent search netted some interesting almost-rans for Hair. At the top of the very first sign-in sheet was one Madonna Ciccone. "Somehow I overlooked her among the hundreds of people I saw," said Forman. On another day, the director, who did some of the callbacks at his apartment, got a knock at the door from a wiry, long-haired young man who didn't like the musical and had no interest in being cast, but had promised his agent he would at least see Forman. His name was Bruce Springsteen. Treat Williams had to come back to audition dozens of times for the role of Berger. He was a strong contender from his stage work in Grease, but the role of Berger had been owned by Jim Ragni, who wanted to play him in the film as well. Though Forman thought Ragni too old to play the part, the writer/actor wasn't ready to hand it over. According to Forman's memoir, when asked to repeat a song one day during yet another audition, a frustrated Williams lost it, physically launching himself at Ragni, perhaps in an effort to literally wrestle the role away from him. Forman gave him the part then and there. The most impressive audition for the film came from Cheryl Barnes, a young singer who showed up at open auditions. "As she started to sing the tune she had prepared, a hush came over the room. She had a voice like a bell, flawless musicality, and great presence," Forman remembers in Turnaround. A maid in a Maine motel, Barnes had taken the bus into New York for the open call and walked away with the role of Hud's fiancée. Her first take of "Easy to be Hard", thought by many to be the finest version of the song, was reportedly perfect. After shooting wrapped in Barstow, Ca., where Hair's base sequences were filmed, Barnes decided to stay, and though she went through the motions of pursuing a singing career, Hair would be her biggest role. The only casting regret Forman has is for director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955) in the role of The General. Though he performed well, Ray had to endure clouds of heavy smoke for his big scene, and it was only weeks later that Forman learned he was dying of lung cancer. Stage maven Twyla Tharp was tapped as choreographer for the film and playwright Michael Weller (Ragtime, 1981), who had recently won praise for his play Moonchildren, about lost '60s renegades, wrote the screenplay. For them, as for Forman, Hair would be a baptism into film musicals. With a big budget, big cast and an uncertain audience, Hair was a gamble. As Time magazine put it in a March, 1979 article on the film, "One false move, and Hair would have congealed into Grease." Luckily for the film's production team and audiences, that was not the case. "Hair succeeds on all levels," Time went on to say. Though it grossed only $15 million on its $11 million budget and was a disappointment for the studio, the film was generally well reviewed. It was nominated for two Golden Globes and a French Cesar for best foreign film. Many audiences and critics liked the film better than the stage version. In 1979, Hair's release may have been too late for its story to be contemporary and too soon to be nostalgic, but now, almost 30 years later, it may work better on both counts. Producers: Michael Butler, Lester Persky Director: Milos Forman Screenplay: Michael Weller; Gerome Ragni, James Rado (musical book and lyrics) Cinematography: Richard C. Kratina, Miroslav Ondricek, Jean Talvin Art Direction: Stuart Wurtzel (production design) Film Editing: Alan Heim, Stanley Warnow Cast: John Savage (Claude Hooper Bukowski), Treat Williams (George Berger), Beverly D'Angelo (Sheila Franklin), Annie Golden (Jeannie Ryan), Dorsey Wright (Lafayette aka Hud), Don Dacus (Woof), Cheryl Barnes (Hud's fiancée), Richard Bright (Fenton), Nicholas Ray (the General) C-121m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Emily Soares

Michael Jeter, 1952-2003


Michael Jeter, the diminutive actor whose versatility in all mediums earned him numerous accolades and awards, was found dead on March 30 in his Hollywood Hills home. He was 50. The cause of death has not been determined, although in a 1997 interview for Entertainment Tonight Jeter did disclose he was HIV-positive.

Jeter was born on Aug. 26, 1952, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He began medical studies at Memphis State University, but soon discovered a love for the theater. After graduation, he pursued his career in earnest and moved to New York and worked as a law firm secretary until he found some stage work and his film debut in Milos Forman's adaptation of the musical Hair (1979).

Jeter spend the next decade landing mostly stage work and making occasional guest forays in popular television shows: Lou Grant, Night Court, and Designing Women, but his unique physical presence (a slight, 5'4" frame, premature balding, owlish features) made it difficult for him to land substantial parts. That all changed when Tommy Tune cast him in the Broadway hit Grand Hotel (1990) in the role of Otto Kringelin, a dying clerk enjoying a last fling in Berlin. Jeter's energetic performance earned him a Tony award and gave him a much higher profile to stake a claim in movies. The following year he made his strongest impression on film to date when he was cast in Terry Gilliam's (1991) delivering a moving performance as a homeless cabaret singer with AIDS.

He scored his biggest coup when he was cast the same year in the hit sitcom Evening Shade (1991-1994) as Herman Stiles, the wimpy assistant to Reynolds, who played a pro football player turned coach. He won an Emmy award in 1992 for that role and scored two more nominations by the end of the series run. Jeter would also get some good supporting parts in many films throughout the decade: Sister Act 2 (1993), a fun comic role as Whoopi Goldberg's sidekick Father Ignatius; Mouse Hunt (1997); The Green Mile (1999), his best film role as Eduard Delacroix, a condemned murderer who befriends a cellblock mouse; Jurassic Park III (2001); and Welcome to Collinwood (2002).

At the time of his death, Jeter was appearing on the classic PBS children's series Sesame Street as the lovable but bumbling Mr. Noodle; and had been filming Robert Zemekis' Christmas movie The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks. Production was halted on Monday in observance of Jeter's death. He is survived by his life partner, Sean Blue, his parents, Dr. William and Virginia Jeter; a brother, William; and four sisters, Virginia Anne Barham, Emily Jeter, Amanda Parsons and Laurie Wicker.

by Michael T. Toole

Michael Jeter, 1952-2003

Michael Jeter, the diminutive actor whose versatility in all mediums earned him numerous accolades and awards, was found dead on March 30 in his Hollywood Hills home. He was 50. The cause of death has not been determined, although in a 1997 interview for Entertainment Tonight Jeter did disclose he was HIV-positive. Jeter was born on Aug. 26, 1952, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He began medical studies at Memphis State University, but soon discovered a love for the theater. After graduation, he pursued his career in earnest and moved to New York and worked as a law firm secretary until he found some stage work and his film debut in Milos Forman's adaptation of the musical Hair (1979). Jeter spend the next decade landing mostly stage work and making occasional guest forays in popular television shows: Lou Grant, Night Court, and Designing Women, but his unique physical presence (a slight, 5'4" frame, premature balding, owlish features) made it difficult for him to land substantial parts. That all changed when Tommy Tune cast him in the Broadway hit Grand Hotel (1990) in the role of Otto Kringelin, a dying clerk enjoying a last fling in Berlin. Jeter's energetic performance earned him a Tony award and gave him a much higher profile to stake a claim in movies. The following year he made his strongest impression on film to date when he was cast in Terry Gilliam's

Quotes

You like men?
- Prison Supervisor
Men?
- Woof
You have any sexual attraction towards men?
- Prison Supervisor
You mean am I a homosexual or something like that?
- Woof
Yeah.
- Prison Supervisor
Well, I wouldn't kick Mick Jagger out of my bed.
- Woof
The draft is white people sending black people to make war on the yellow people to defend the land they stole from the red people!
- Hippy
I know who the father is.
- Jeannie
Yeah, you know that, you know a lot. If the baby comes out all white and squishy-like, crying his ass off, then we know Woof is definitely the daddy. But if he comes out all beautiful and chocolate brown, that's mine!
- Hud

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1979

Released in United States on Video April 1988

Released in United States March 1979

Began shooting October 11, 1978.

First feature film choregraphed by Twyla Tharp.

Released in United States Spring April 1979

Released in United States on Video April 1988

Released in United States March 1979 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Opening Night) March 14-30, 1979.)