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Vidal Sassoon The Movie

by Phil Hall
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 13, 2011
Vidal Sassoon The Movie

If one believes this gushing would-be hagiography, British hair stylist Vidal Sassoon "changed the world with a pair of scissors." Never mind that Sassoon didn't actually invent anything - his 1960s hairdos borrowed more than a passing inspiration from the 1920s' bob cut style made famous by Hollywood stars Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore.

However, Sassoon deserves credit for taking full-throttle self-promotional marketing to new heights. His talent for publicity made him a brand name at a time when London was the global center for all things fashionable. He carried his brand name across the Atlantic, expanding beyond his highly touted New York salon into an excessively promoted line of hair care products.

Sassoon's career could have been the subject of an interesting documentary. He certainly enjoyed a rags-to-riches life story: abandoned by his father and placed in a London orphanage by his mother, he fought back against the anti-Semitism of 1940s England and worked hard to drop his Cockney speech pattern in order to gain a toehold among the well-heeled crowd in London's ritzy Mayfair neighborhood.

Sassoon doesn’t help matters by placing too much emphasis on his wealth.

Unfortunately, this tiresome non-fiction film is over packed with employees, former employees and old-time business partners who insist that Sassoon is the most amazing person on the planet; one person compares him to Albert Einstein and Muhammad Ali, while another bluntly insists (with no good reasoning) that Sassoon receive knighthood. Some of the more interesting aspects of his life, including a stint with the Haganah during the Israeli war of independence, are abruptly mentioned. And a turning point in the Sassoon career - the unusual hairstyling for actress Nancy Kwan in a magazine photo shoot - is too quickly skipped over. (And how come no one asked Nancy Kwan to comment on her celebrated hairdo?)

Sassoon doesn't help matters by placing too much emphasis on his wealth - do we really need to see him doing yoga stretching and swim laps at his Beverly Hills mansion? Ultimately, Sassoon comes across as a successful business executive who believes all of his publicity. As a result, the man and his film quickly become bores.

"Vidal Sassoon The Movie"
Running time: 93 minutes
Phase 4 Films Inc.

Phil Hall is the author of "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time


  • , 2012-10-28 13:17:37

    I just watched this, and yes, it was a bore. The constant reiteration of how Sassoon "liberated women around the world" is rather specious when the women who are supposedly "liberated" are mute two-dimensional vehicles for the "genius" from start to finish. (I do very much look forward to an hour and half documentary about the barber who single-handly "liberated men around the world" with his revolutionary scissoring techniques.) Also, one has to wonder at the likelihood of 25+ male hairdressers in London’s top salon (roughly the number of men that Sassoon trained to work for him) and not a single one of them is gay? The underlying machismo in this narrative is at best absurd and at worst it is downright offensive.

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