(out of 5)
The energy is tangible in this exciting adaptation of the groundbreaking, taboo-smashing Broadway musical. Sadly, the film took so long to get to the screen that the subject was no longer groundbreaking or taboo, but the songs still sound beautiful. Forman and company take the original play, which was more or less a collection of scenes dealing with hot-button issues at the time such as Vietnam, civil rights and free love, and create a story from it that still keeps all the original aims of the project alive and intact. John Savage plays a small town boy who has come to New York to enlist in the army for service in Vietnam, but is delayed for a few days by the friendship he strikes up with a group of hippies living in Central Park. Treat Williams plays the alpha dog of the group who give Savage an opportunity to experience life as a free man away from the confines of the military-obsessed society they live in. Beverly D’Angelo is lovely as the society girl who catches Savage’s eye, and the score of the musical has remained largely unaltered. Songs like ‘Good Morning Starshine’ and the phenomenal performance of ‘Easy To Be Hard’ by Cheryl Barnes will have you humming for days, and Twyla Tharp’s exciting choreography will have you twitching with a desire to do some fancy footwork of your own.
CIP Filmproduktion GmbH
Directed by Milos Forman
Cinematography by Miroslav Ondricek
Music by Galt MacDermot
Production Design by Stuart Wurtzel
Costume Design by Ann Roth