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I think that your opinion about Saturday NIGHT FEVER may have a lot to
do with your age. People who were of age during the Disco Age probably
will love it. Older or younger people may feel less impressed. As for
me, I was rather young during this disco craze and thought that the
gold chains and unbuttoned polyester shirts were all pretty tacky--so
the film doesn't hold the same wonderful nostalgic memory it might for
others--though I will admit that I liked the music (yes, folks, it's
true--I am so uncool that I actually like disco).
As for the film, it is unusual in structure in that much of it is like a very prolonged music video. While this sort of film is more common today, in 1977 it must have been revolutionary to have such a meandering film that isn't always plot-driven. What was also unusual is that unlike most films, the main character is amazingly stupid and shallow--his friends are even worse. For Tony Manero (John Travolta), what matters most to him in life is his hair, his clothes and disco--and little else. As for his friends, their priorities would be drugs, sex, date rape, driving like idiots and disco. Not exactly a group of Einsteins, eh? This is a problem for folks like me, as I have a hard time really getting into a picture if I don't like anyone. My only emotional connection was feeling sad for the desperate women with low self-esteem that actually cared about this shallow guy or his obnoxious friends. Otherwise, I just didn't care about what happened to anyone--including his slap-happy family!
While it probably sounds like I hated the film, there were some things I did like or at least respect. As I mentioned above, the music was nice--with one of the best soundtracks in movie history. While no one today admits to liking disco (other than nuts like me), it did produce the biggest-selling soundtracks in history. Plus, while I didn't love all the dancing, I sure could respect all the work that went into choreographing it and making it look so effortless. What Travolta and the rest did to get ready for the film is incredible. I just wish, however, that the film was less like the prolonged music video and was more plot-driven at times or had greater importance than "who will be Tony's new dance partner?"! Of course, this shallowness might actually be a great metaphor for the era--an era typified by loud clothes, drugs, sex without consequences and Studio 54.
Overall, an interesting time capsule hindered by characters that are mostly low-lifes and co-dependents.
At one point in the film, Tony muses "there are ways of killing yourself without killing yourself". Wow, such amazing depth to his utter shallowness!
I just watched this again on some channel. . Bravo, maybe.
When it first came out I was very young, and actually went under duress because all my other friends wanted to go.
Then I had to sit through it again on a flight to Europe.
I didn't get it then--I wasn't part of the whole disco culture--and now when I watch it I'm hypnotized, because it's so screamingly dated. The only way I can really view it is as a cultural artifact, which I guess, is exactly what it has become.
Since everyone knows the plot by this time, my only observation is that the only really sympathetic character in the story is Tony's brother, who quit the priesthood. Tony's friends are clods, except for the one who's the whiner, Tony's family is repellent, and the only woman in the story that *seems* to have anything resembling self-esteem is a delusional, stuck-up pain in the butt. As for Tony, yeh, he has his likable moments, but for the most part he treats women like crap.
One thing that always puzzled me was the casting of Karen Gorney as the girl Tony fixates on. Nothing against the actress, but she's utterly ordinary, and, as the character, totally obnoxious. Tony is a genuine hunk, all right, so why not cast someone as the unattainable girl who really can stop some traffic on the street? I mean, there WERE pretty women in Brooklyn in the 1970s.
I've noticed in some of the reviews that the lack of political correctness in the movie seems to be refreshing to a lot of people, so I'll say something that may be politically incorrect: As I watched the camera pan lovingly over the prone figure of John Travolta lying in bed on his stomach, wearing nothing but black briefs, I thought "Wow, this is gay." Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I understand why this flick appeals to guys on another level. Tony is the ultimate six foot strutting, prancing rooster, a man who knows that any girl he singles out will probably fall on her back and open her legs. And yet he has this streak of sensitivity. But not TOO much sensitivity.
As for the music, you either love the Bee Gees and disco or you hate 'em. But I will say I understand why the soundtrack became one of the biggest selling soundtracks of all time.
Anyhow, it's worth watching if only for the sheer culture shock.
TV actor John Travolta shot to fame and received an Oscar nomination for his acting (and dancing) in this otherwise depressing coming-of-age story. Brooklyn kid, stifled at home and restless at work, is idolized at night when he takes over the dance-floor at the local discotheque. "Misunderstood teens" theme gets a real work-out here, with director John Badham and screenwriter Norman Wexler bending over backwards to make these trash-talking, uneducated, sex-obsessed goof-offs engaging and colorful. Wexler, who has his youthful subjects putting down everything worthwhile, seems to think he's actually saying something new and fresh (with Karen Lynn Gorney as the ambitious girl who is ultimately condescended to--she's made to look like a cynical sell-out). The disco music (mostly by the Bee Gees) is kinetic and alive, and was instrumental in making the film a box-office success. Travolta's solo dance number is also incredible, transcending the script and the surrounding phoniness. Followed by a 1983 sequel, "Staying Alive". ** from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are many, many people who watch this movie for the first time
expecting what pop culture remembers of it - disco, a white suit, a fun
family dinner scene.
There are many, many people who watch this movie and come away horrified, because of the frank depictions of racism, sexism, and sexual assault (depictions that likely would not be in a major film today - and even at the time got the director fired from another project).
This frankness leads to some objections to the film that I wholeheartedly disagree with, such as it being "sexist" or that it "slut shames" Annette for being raped. The whole point of the that scene is that it's wrong that Annette to be raped. That even if she agreed (while under the influence) to "run a train," it's still terrible and disgusting. Tony shaming her is also supposed to be terrible. We aren't supposed to watch this scene and think what happens to her is fine or that Tony's reaction is fine.
Tony and his friends live in a world where there is no such thing as racism or rape. It's all about them. It's all about getting what they can, and blaming others who in their minds take it from them. They have fun, they go out and dance, but they are dying inside.
Tony does not realize any of this about himself or his friends until he gets several system shocks (meeting Stephanie, his brother leaving the priesthood, beating a better couple in a dance contest solely because he's white, his friend's suicide). He slowly but surely sees that he is a racist, a misogynist, that he has an incredibly toxic relationship with his parents he has to escape from before he will never have an escape.
This aspect of the film is timeless - watching this in 2014 you will understand as much as you would have in 1977, if not more.
The performances are uniformly superb. Travolta gives a career best, and a great deal of the film's appeal is based not only on his charisma and acting, but on his refusal to allow Tony to be whitewashed as a character. Karen Lynn Gorney has the most difficult role in the film - a woman trapped between two worlds even as she takes Tony down the same path. She plays the soft moments but also plays the harsh, condescending moments too. The scene where we meet her ex-boyfriend and realize he was "educating" her just as she's trying to educate her is one of the most poignant in the film, because we see just how much of how she behaves with Tony is projection, is a shell. Joseph Cali is also superb, as he gives so many layers to a role that is ultimately only a symbol of Tony's breaking away, not a character. His work in small but ultimately pivotal moments like his attempt to counsel Bobby (initially treating him as something of a joke, then genuinely trying, yet still not getting it) is so surprisingly complex. And he and Travolta have wonderful chemistry together. Donna Pescow takes a character we could easily dismiss the way the men in the film do, and she breaks our hearts, especially those close-ups of her expressive eyes. Who else could make a scene with holding a bunch of condoms into such exquisite sorrow?
The worst mistake the film makes is not handling Tony's attempted rape of Stephanie with more care. Deleted scenes suggest that the last scene in the film (where he goes to her apartment to talk to her) was darker in tone, with Stephanie refusing to let him and his only getting into the building because someone opened the door to leave. The movie takes that out, and leaves a somewhat hesitant Stephanie pledging to help Tony ...as a friend. The problem with this is it undercuts the ugliness of what he did, especially as it had happened only a few hours before. It spoils what could have been a beautiful last scene and takes away from the other ambiguous moments in the film regarding sexism and rape that genuinely present this as bad and wrong.
I strongly recommend this movie, but please warn people not to just expect polyester and hip thrusts.
For readers still in their early twenties, it might be puzzling to
ponder exactly why John Travolta is such a legend. Oh sure, he was
Vincent Vega from "Pulp Fiction" but that was just a comeback. Back in
the day, Travolta became a cultural icon in this disco-infused cult
classic which came to define an era and launched Travolta into the
stratosphere. Like most musicals, it follows a well-trodden storyline
but this movie has an edge to it I didn't expect. It's much more dark,
gritty than I expected and not particularly optimistic a sort of
anti-"Grease", if you will. It's also remarkably crummy in places but
Travolta's blistering performance makes up for most of the film's
Travolta plays Tony Manero, a young guy in Brooklyn who dreams of escaping to the big city to escape his dead-end job in a hardware store and his tumultuous relationship with his family. His only release comes every Saturday night at the 2001 Odyssey nightclub where he burns up the dance-floor in front of his admiring friends and occasionally dashes off to the parking lot with a girl for a bit of backseat action. One such girl is Annette (Donna Pescow) who longs to dance with Tony but he has eyes fixed on the aloof Stephanie Karen Lynn Gorney) and the forthcoming dance competition's cash prize and soon, they begin practising. But Stephanie's moves aren't the only thing Tony practises for and soon, he finds himself questioning his loyalties to his friends, his dreams and his girls
"Saturday Night Fever" is one of those movies where not much happens for the longest time and when it does, it comes as a bolt out of the blue. Tony and his cronies are a frankly unlikeable bunch, screaming around Brooklyn in their beat-up Chevy and treating every girl in the club as a potential conquest and nothing more. The film only really comes alive on the dance-floor as Travolta is as electric as the famous under-floor lighting. He really can move and combined with arguably the greatest soundtrack ever compiled, suddenly you find yourself wishing you were there with him. It is a heady one-two punch that still works today but then the music stops and its back to the familiar territories of gang warfare, teenage pregnancies and unspoken sibling rivalry in the form of Tony's brother Frank Jr. (Martin Shakar) and his crisis of Catholic faith. The film doesn't lack subplots (indeed, it probably has too many) but it doesn't see any of them through, meaning that these people come and go without influencing Tony's quest for disco glory too much. Take the chaotic fight sequence against the Barracuda gang the only real effect of this bust-up is Tony wearing a crude plastic on his face for the final reel. Even the car, driven through a window, seems to survive unscathed.
"Saturday Night Fever" is a curious film, one that strides generations like a true classic but doesn't stand up too well under closer scrutiny by today's standards. Besides Travolta (who is simply far too good for a film of this calibre), most of the cast seem to talk over each other about nothing in particular and the plot is both far-fetched and misogynistic. It's a difficult movie to love until you get to the disco scenes when suddenly, it opens up and comes alive with colour, glamour, sex appeal and that fabulous soundtrack featured mostly Bee Gee's numbers but also KC & The Sunshine Band, Tavares and the Trammps, among others. If you can forgive the tired "rags-to-riches" tale of Tony and his desire to leave Brooklyn behind then "Saturday Night Fever" will be right up your street. Personally, I'd just fast-forward to the disco scenes, watch Travolta boogie and enjoy some quality tunes.
I am black man who was 16 or 17 and I was in a integrated high school
in Brooklyn when I went to see this movie in 1977. I did not know any
white kids in their family life, but I knew a lot of white kids
especially Italians from the neighborhood betrayed in this movie. I
thought the way he talked and the way they dressed was true to many of
my classmates. The leather jackets, the hairstyles and the Brooklyn
accents were excellent.
The nerd character was a bit of Hollywood, the chance of Tony and his other friends hanging with him is unlikely and just for storyline.
From the outside looking in. I thought the Tony character acted like at least three or four people that I knew from school at the time. I thought it was much better acting than his Barbarino character in Welcome Back Kotter.
i had never seen this movie before.though i had heard a lot of things about it.anyway,i finally watched it today,and i really liked it.i thought it was very well paced.i liked the dialogue.i thought it was clever.the acting was good,but Travolta was outstanding,but very understated.the dance scenes were really good.Travolta looked like natural on the dance floor.i also really liked the 70's disco music.the movie was written very well,overall.it felt really authentic.the only negative thing i can say about the movie,is that it loses some steam towards the end.but as for the ending itself,i liked it.it wasn't your typical Hollywood ending.i think it was realistic.in my opinion,pretty much anyone can relate to this movie,especially if your just an average person with big dreams.depending on your age,this movie might bring back a lot of memories for you.i think it's still relevant today.for me,Saturday Night Fever is a 8.5/10
Rated R for strong language, sexuality/nudity, drug content and some
Saturday Night Fever was John Travolta's breakthrough film.After this film and Grease, he would not be famous again until Pulp Fiction in 1994.There are two versions of Saturday Night Fever.The original R-rated version and an edited PG version which is hard to find on VHS(not released on DVD) but is the one which is used for the edited for TV version of Fever.It is cut by approx 6min.Anyway Travolta's acting is very good in this film and the storyline is pretty good as well.A bit boring at times but the soundtrack is excellent.I actually bought the soundtrack a couple of years ago.The film is about a young man living in Brooklyn.Everyday, him and his friends go to a disco to hang around and dance.Travolta is a very good disco dancer.One day him and this girl he likes try to win the dance competition which is being held there.Saturday NIght Fever is an interesting film which portrays disco in the 1970's.This is actually the film which helped popularize disco.Worth watching.
I think this very especial movie is more The Bee Gees Than the other somehow it's a great movie.it opened the door for the pop music to the cinema because before this pop music was incredible in the movies(as Maurice Gibb The Bee Gees member said.the disco songs of this movie are the greatest disco songs ever.and the producer of the movie is the Bee Gees producer Mr.Robert Stigwood.So I recall The Bee Gees every time I hear about this great movie.I acknowledge that John Travolta Has done just great in the movie.but maybe many people don't know that the title of the movie is gotten from a bee gees song that they were writing in the same time without knowing anything about the movie.The song Name is ((Night Fever)) I hope this time that you watch the movie Focus on the Songs The most.
Great story great music great and believable acting. All around great
People in all over the world can understand such movie. It has a cross cultural flavor in the sense that the experiences and the types of characters that are depicted in the movie are found in all cultures. So it is easy for any viewer in any place to understand the message of the movie and related to their own experience in their own culture. The details of the experience may vary from culture to culture but in every culture the experience is the same and this universality is what this movie depicts so nicely. The naivety of the characters give the story and the acting a great measure of credibility and makes this move so believable.
The music and dancing are so great and so alive. You fill like dancing with music. The songs are great and most of them made the top charts and the Bee Gees in this movie are exceptionally great.
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