Now he's six feet, Underground - Won't have Dick to Kick Around: Burma Shave
September 2, 2007 3:42 PM   Subscribe

The Big Shave (SLYT), an early Scorsese 6-minutes short, also known as Viet '67. Some have interpreted the film as a metaphor for the self-destructive involvement of the US in Vietnam. Background music Bunny Berigan's "I Can't Get Started". (Warning: Early Scorsese!) Previously
posted by growabrain (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting short. Thanks for posting.

(now if only he took Cassavetes' advice and refrained from making films like The Aviator and Gangs of New York)
posted by inoculatedcities at 4:02 PM on September 2, 2007

I saw this a few years ago at NYU. Regardless of any political context outside the frame, it's an incredibly simple and satisfying little piece. To this day it remains one of my favorite shorts of all time.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 4:39 PM on September 2, 2007

I saw this about 15 years ago on a compilation called Scorsese x4. It doesn't seem to be available on DVD, but if you can still play VHS, it is worth a look.
posted by thinman at 5:16 PM on September 2, 2007

Wow, nothing like a little shock value. Point well taken, Marty.

Nice post.
posted by snsranch at 5:37 PM on September 2, 2007


Contrasting the post-war 50s sharp, largely volunteer Marines and Airborne forces first committed in 1965 to the haggled, grass-smoking sideburned counter-cultural draftee WTF-is-this troops of 1969-70 is instructive (even though Hollywood has over-colored the differences, enough newsfilm survives to see how Vietnam bloodied and battered the Army clearly).

Vietnam was a bitch of a country to fight a bitch of a war in.

As is Iraq. I don't get TV so I wouldn't know, but I've heard that for a war that's been going on longer for us than WW2 we've got piss-all of good coverage out of it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:59 PM on September 2, 2007

hmm, one of the major differences between Iraq and Vietnam is that they're rotating units, not just individual replacements through Iraq.

I would guess there's a dynamic involved with "institutional knowledge" becoming increasingly corrupted the longer the institution itself remains in-country. Pulling the entire thing out for a year or three allows it to (more) re-normalize I would guess. Oh:
Handy VN / OIF Comparison Chart
1965 -- 2003 
1966 -- 2004
1967 -- 2005
1968 -- 2006
1969 -- 2007
1970 -- 2008
1971 -- 2009
1972 -- 2010
1973 -- 2011
1974 -- 2012
1975 -- 2013
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:07 PM on September 2, 2007

(I couldn't watch this because I just KNEW it was going to be a scene of a guy shaving and cutting his face....there's like three major motifs I can't ever watch in movies, and one of them is men shaving.

I just KNOW they're going to cut themselves, and they always do, and it churns my stomach everytime. Now I can't even watch a shaving scene - full stop.) shudder shudder shudder
posted by tristeza at 10:24 PM on September 2, 2007

Scorsese was a master even then. Thanks for the post.

Heywood, WTF are you on about? This is the Scorsese short thread, not the Evolution of the American Fighting Man thread.
posted by languagehat at 5:48 AM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

As much as I try, I just can't get off the fence about Scorsese. I watch his films. I enjoy them. I recognize the talent there. But, I also know that he's going to take it wayyyy-over-the-top each and every time...and far-too-enthusiastically over-the-top. I guess I keep getting the feeling that he's trying way too hard to grab the audience.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:22 AM on September 3, 2007

lh, I thought the text on the ending card supported the idea that Scorsese was making a statement about our VN involvement.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:58 PM on September 3, 2007

Yeah, I got that, but surely if you look at it afresh you'll see that your second comment is completely over the top in this context. I mean, if someone posted links about a Russian film that was about bears in Siberia but was thought to be an allegory about the Russian Revolution, I wouldn't post a long comment about the history of the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Social Revolutionaries and how and why the Bolsheviks came out on top. It's a movie about bears. This is a movie about a guy shaving. Dig?
posted by languagehat at 2:25 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think Ken Gaulin was especially brilliant as the bathroom in that short.
posted by shmegegge at 3:02 PM on September 4, 2007

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