Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Saturday Night Fever


Okay, so I had the chance to watch this film again over the Memorial day week-end, and realized that I still like this movie a lot. Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977, and it single handedly gave disco a fad that was really on it's way out a reprieve. John Badham the director of the film was once quoted as saying that "we were making a small film about a fad that was slowly dying out", and he was right. Saturday Night Fever was written by Norman Wexler, but was based on an article written in a magazine entitled: "Tribal Rights of the New Saturday Night". The movie has gained legendary status through Travolta's performance on and off the dance floor. To simple write up Saturday Night Fever as just another dance movie would be doing it a big disservice. There is actually a story here, and it's about Travolta's character Tony Manero.

Saturday Night Fever is about a young man and his confusion and frustration about living a life he's not happy with. Dancing at the local discotheque is all that Tony has to make himself feel special and wanted, as he doesn't get it from his family. The arrival of Stephanie, an older woman who is just as good a dancer as he is, lights a fire inside Tony and he finally sees his life as having a purpose. But things don't turn out as he had envisioned.*

That in a nut shell is the plot of the entire movie, and the movie has some strong performances from JohnTravolta as Tony Manero, Karen Lynn Gorney as Stephanie, Barry Miller as Bobby C. and Donna Pescow as Annette. All this was done on a limited budget & a tight shooting schedule. Maybe that's why I hold it up as being a true American classic. The feel of the film and the look of the film are quite authentic, and this is in no small way due to Badham's crew. Having grown up during this time it brings a bit of nostalgia to viewers who lived in this era. I can remember the "new" discotheque opening up in the neighborhood, and the crowds it drew in for a very short time. Between the opening of Saturday Night Fever, and the close of the 70's the scene changed. Disco had a backlash, and it gave birth to the punk movement with such artists like the Ramones, and Blondie leading the way. But for a brief time Saturday Night Fever had it's moment. Seeing it again reminded me that the film should be considered more then a phenomenon, but an actual good film about relationships, and one having a purpose in life, and not just being aimless and without direction. See it again, and see for yourself how good this film really is. You won't regret it.

*Part of review written by from IMDB: Devyalento Latchford Deschanel from London, England

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