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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM

“Out of Africa” — and, great shampoo scenes

Should anyone wish to join me in feeling ancient on this Monday morning, consider this: “Out of Africa” is 25 years old this year. It’s the sort of sweeping romantic epic that Hollywood doesn’t make anymore (and is, I think, what Baz Luhrman was aiming for with “Australia”), directed by the late Sydney Pollack and starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Interesting that the great Streep, defying all odds, is still a movie star, while Redford’s acting appearances have become rare — he hasn’t been seen on screen since 2007’s “Lions for Lambs.” (He’s still busy as a director, though; currently wrapping up work on “The Conspirator,” a drama about the Abraham Lincoln assassination trial.)
A lot of us remember “Out of Africa” for its scenic beauty, for the intricacy of Streep’s accent as Danish writer Isak Dinesen (born Karen Blixen), and for the chemistry in this casually romantic scene, in which Redford washes Streep’s hair while reciting bits of Coleridge’s “The Ancient Mariner.”

This got me thinking about great shampoo scenes in the movies. (Come on, it’s either that or think, “what, 25 years ago?,” which is not a pleasant way to start the week.) Can’t think of too many, but I do love this one, from the great Astaire/Rogers musical “Swing Time.” This beautiful Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields song, “The Way You Look Tonight,” won the Oscar for best song that year and became a classic. And Ginger proves here that she’s always adorable, even with a head full of shampoo.

Anyone think of any other great ones, besides “South Pacific”?

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