Saturday Night Fever directed by John Badham:
Every so often a film comes around that seems to have its finger on the pulse of society and it makes such an impact that it changes pop culture. Saturday Night Fever was that film in the late 1970s. It was in no way a classic film, but every young person alive at that time saw the picture. They related to it.
Tony (John Travolta – Grease, Hairspray) is a young man growing up in New York City in which his life revolves around going out to the disco to dance. On the dancefloor there are none better than Tony. Noticing a female dancer named Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney – Men in Black) one night at the club, Tony asks her to be his partner in an upcoming dance competition. Dancing is not only what Tony has on his mind as love is in the air. Stephanie resists his advances as she has aspirations and wants to go somewhere in life. Finally, it becomes too much and Stephanie moves across the rive to Manhattan. It takes a while for Tony to realize that he too is not happy with the direction his life is going in, so he meets her and they agree to help each other start afresh.
As you can tell by the synopsis of the film it is not rocket science we’re talking about here. The story is simple…maybe overly so, but who are we kidding everyone watches this film for two simple reasons: the music and Travolta’s dancing. Watching the film and listening to the music will cheer you up as everything about it is peppy and positive. The film is about escaping and the music will help with that.
Grease directed by Randal Kleiser:
This film will never go out of style. It is a film about the 1950s that was popular in the late 70s when it came out and has never dropped off the radar since. Its popularity extended to the soundtrack and has led to it becoming a Broadway musical. As far as the acting and story it is nothing great, but something about the music and dancing really captured the public’s attention.
During the summer vacation of 1958 Danny Zuko (John Travolta – Hairspray, Saturday Night Fever) meets Australian Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John – Xanadu, Two of a Kind) at the beach. They fall for each other and a short romance ensues. At the end of summer they say goodbye to each other.
Sandy’s parents have a change of plans and stay in the United States. She is enrolled in Rydell High School. Danny also attends Rydell High and is surprised to see Sandy there when classes begin. He is the leader of the Thunderbirds and tries to protect his reputation as Sandy is not the type of girl he usually dates.
After being rejected by Danny, Sandy goes to a sleepover at Frenchy’s (Didi Conn – Frida, Grease 2) house. Rizzo (Stockard Channing – Six Degrees of Separation, Must Love Dogs) grows tired of Sandy’s goody-two-shoes ways quickly and makes fun of her. Sandy is not sure where she fits in.
Danny can’t seem to stay away from Sandy as his attraction to her is bigger than his desire to be seen as cool. The two struggle with their attraction for each other and their need to be true to themselves. Does their romance stand a chance?
Yes, it is unbelievable a story. Yes, it is corny. But for these two reasons and others we love it all the more. What would be perceived of as weaknesses for most films is what makes this one so enjoyable.
During almost every moment of this movie musical you will find yourself fighting the urges to sing at the top of your lungs and get up to dance along with the cast. It is upbeat fun until the very last second.
-Pop-Up Trivia – 70s Discopedia
-Documentary: Catching the Fever
-Rydell Sing Along
-The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease
-Grease on DVD Launch Party
-The Moves Behind the Music
-Grease Memories From John & Olivia
-John Travolta & Allan Carr: Grease Day Interview
Olivia Newton-John & Robert Stigwood: Grease Day Interview