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Grease (1978)

Grease poster

It took me a while to like this – not because it’s inherently unlikeable, but when I was a child and taken to see this on a big day out at a city cinema EVERYONE except me had seen it and knew every line of dialogue, never mind the songs which were ubiquitous at the time. I could barely hear a word over the audience recycling the whole film from start to wretched finish. But it’s so fantastic, isn’t it? The adaptation of the stage hit by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs cannily invoked the current for Fifties nostalgia in an era of huge social and political flux, reinvented song modes – he said/she said, tributes, gang chants – and put it all together in an engaging paean to the high school experience. The soundtrack album was huge – second only to Saturday Night Fever, the other half of Travolta’s twofer. What a year he had! Bronte Woodard and producer Allan Carr wrote the screenplay, which altered the stage show, added songs, and cast the oldest teenagers on the planet and somehow … it all works. John Travolta is simply a charisma machine and his idiosyncratic take on the music is unforgettable. It was his idea to bring Olivia Newton-John on board despite her scant acting experience and boy does she get the makeover treatment. Jeff Conaway is brilliant as Kenickie and as for Stockard Channing and Didi Conn:  oh!  A raft of Fifties TV personalities add to the authentic feel with Frankie Avalon appearing as Teen Angel. Daring, funny, witty, vastly entertaining. Oh my. What a wonderful film. You know the rest. Directed by Randal Kleiser.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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