Many conversions from stage to film lose spontaneity, also one has to pick what songs to add and subtract. Of course because of the public sense of decency many things have to be cryptic. With all of these restrictions this film is able to rival the play.
You will notice that there is a smooth transition from story to dialog to song and back to story. The sound track from the movie is worth buying.
Summer vacation from high school is ending. Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) standing on the beach must say goodbye. This is the beginning.
The play is basically of two people Danny and Sandy adjusting to each other while maintaining their respective places in high school society. We see a text book school environment which no one had but parts of the story touch on everyone's life.
Will Danny give up his gang and become a jock just to impress Sandy?
Or will Sandy say goodbye to Sandra Dee to impress Danny?
And who gets the hickey for Kinicke?
on July 17, 2004
Anyway, "Grease" is one of my favorite movies. It's just one of those timeless gems that will never die (can't say the same for the sequel, though). Every song is a joy and the film couldn't have been casted any better. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing; all involved give indelibly charming performances. A lot of great films came out of the 70's (The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Chinatown, Jaws, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, etc., etc...) but "Grease" is still able to hold it's own after all these years. A quintessential film to add to your collection.
As far as the DVD goes, well... it's typical of Paramount to stiff us with what could have been a solid release. If you take into account that almost everyone who buys the disc already knows all the songs and dialogue by heart, the studio could have done lots of fun things with the material. Alas, we only get a songbook (which is admittedly kinda cool) and a documentary. Oh, yeah. And a theatrical trailer. How rare. *scoffs*
A half-assed effort to bring "Grease" to a great medium notwithstanding, I'd highly recommend buying this.
"Summer lovin'... had me a bla-haaast..."
on June 6, 2004
"'Grease' is the word that you heard,it's got a groove,it's got a meaning.",sings Frankie Valli in the theme song penned by ex-Bee Gee Barry Gibb. I can't tell you how many times in 26 years I saw this film. The first two times I saw it were in 1978,the year it was released. I was obsessed with this film then(I was then 6,nearly 7 years old). I went through 2 LP copies of the soundtrack and don't have either one anymore. A female friend and I would pretend to be Sandy Dombrowski and Danny Zuko,the star characters respectively portrayed by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. This film was based on the broadway play of the same title. The play debuted in 1972 and the film was made 5 years later. In the film,set in 1959,Sandy and Danny began their romance before returning for their senior year at Rydell High School. Sandy tells her girlfriends and Danny tells his buddies in song,entitled SUMMER NIGHTS. Sandy and her girlfriends are the Pink Ladies and Danny and his buddies are the T-Birds. Memorable scenes include Danny and Sandy at a drive-in theater,newly reconciled and temporarily parted due to an argument(Travolta sings SANDY). Also Danny and Cha-Cha(sexy and beautiful Annette Charles Cardona) strutting their stuff at a dance in the school gymnasium(that made Sandy jealous). Sha-Na-Na as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers performing at the dance. Frenchy(Didi Conn) being visited by a guardian angel(Frankie Avalon singing BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUT). Danny and Kenickie(pre-Taxi Jeff Conaway) racing in their cars. And of course,the Rydell High seniors singing WE GO TOGETHER at the carnival in the last scene. The late Eve Arden is the Rydell High principal,Sid Caesar is the phys. ed. instructor and Stockard Channing is Rizzo,Kenickie's girlfriend. This was one of '78's biggest films. Another film with a pop music soundtrack released the same year was AMERICAN HOT WAX which was a disappointment. This film was a hit largely because Travolta was still a teen idol and ONJ was a big-selling music artist. Travolta had a prior hit,SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER which grossed just as much as this film. Travolta's ABC sitcom Welcome Back,Kotter was still on the air at the time of filming but his role of Vinnie Barbarino was greatly reduced. After SNF,he wanted to focus on his film career. ONJ later starred in 1980's XANADU,a musical also. Travolta and ONJ re-teamed for 1983's TWO OF A KIND which flopped. Director Randal Kleiser subequently directed 1980's THE BLUE LAGOON starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. This film was re-released theatrically in 1998,in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of its original release. The re-release featured previously unseen footage. It also gave those born after 1978 a chance to see it in theatres.
on June 4, 2004
A film by Randal Kleiser
Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton John) have a summertime romance in the late 50's, but it ends when the summer does and Sandy has to go back to Australia. It is time for a new school year at Rydell High, and Danny is a Senior. He is a member of the T-Birds gang (which feels like a more innocent version of what we'd think of as a gang), the leader of the group. Sandy had told Danny that she had to go back to Australia, but she ends up starting school at Rydell also, unaware that Danny is there. Danny is the cool greaser, popular with the ladies and with a reputation to uphold. Sandy is the sweetest girl next door that you are ever likely to find. When they meet up again, they are excited to see each other, but it doesn't work because Danny is hiding behind his reputation and behaves accordingly.
As a musical, this film is absolutely wonderful. It harkens back to a more innocent time, and while this film is a bit more sexual than you might expect from a PG rated movie, it is very sweet and charming. Most of the songs are great, fit the scene and do not have that stereotypical "it's time to burst into song" feel. The songs feel like a more natural extension of the character and scene and sometimes even feel like what they might actually say at that point. Stockard Channing steals all of her scenes as Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies. Her two big songs "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" and "There are Worse Things I Could Do" are highlights of the movie, along with the classic "Summer Nights" (Travolta and Newton John), "Beauty School Dropout" (Frankie Avalon), and "You're the One that I Want" (Travolta, Newton John). The one complaint that I do have is that I much prefer Sandy as the girl-next-door over her new look at the end of the film. All the characters act like it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but all that it is showing me is that Sandy has to change who she is in order to get a guy to like her. Or, maybe I am thinking too much about this. The bottom line is that this movie is a blast and it is my favorite musical. "Grease" is one of my favorite movies and is a modern classic, even if it is a little campy. I don't know how well it will age over the next twenty years, but for now: Grease is the word.
on May 25, 2004
I've never been a big musical fan but who could resist a movie like GREASE?
It's rare when a movie can take a look at a time in America and manage to capture all the fun that period had to offer. Being based on a well-established musical play helped, I'm sure, but I also think all the other elements--especially that dynamite cast--really helped.
I was a teenager in the 70's when it came out and, looking back at it now, I appreciate the filmmakers' respectful approach to the period and characters while gently poking fun at the 50's. I doubt such a film could be made now: the characters would be caricatures and Hollywood would want to "right any wrongs" of the era, I'm sure.
(Check out the review by the person "offended" by the roles of girls in the movie/1950s. I'll bet every teenage girl in the 50's had more fun being a girl than that person in the 00's ranting about it. Yikes, calm down.)
I loved the extras. The recent interviews with the cast and the footage from the Hollywood premiere.
Mom and Dad had their youth in the 50's and we got to watch it on the movie screens of 1978.
Now the grandkids get to watch it on their portable DVD players.
GREASE is still the word.
on June 19, 2003
In 1971, writers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey wrote and composed the music for a musical entitled "Grease". It appeared first as an amateur production in Chicago, but eventually went to NYC as both off-Broadway and Broadway productions. With the musical's Broadway success, Paramount Pictures produced it on film in 1978 under the direction of Randal Kleiser, whose previous directorial experiences had been primarily TV series and made-for-TV films.
The story for "Grease" is simple: in circa 1959, an uprooted teenaged girl from Australia, Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), meets and has a summer romance with a local American boy, Danny Zuko (John Travolta). At the end of summer, her family remains in America instead of returning to Australia. She is enrolled in a local public high school, Rydell High School, which just happens to be the same high school that Danny attends. When she runs into Danny, his persona changes to what his friends expect: cool, uninterested and a practical joker. Sandy is naturally upset, but she doesn't yet understand the dynamics of his friends, who are in two exclusive cliques, the T-Birds (the guys) and the Pink Ladies (the gals). One of the Pink Ladies, Frenchy (Didi Conn), befriends Sandy and Sandy gets to spend some time with other Pink Ladies, who include Betty Rizzo (Stockard Channing), Marty Maraschino (Dinah Manoff) and Jan (Jamie Donnelly). The T-Birds include Kenickie (Jeff Conaway), Doody (Barry Pearl), Sonny (Michael Tucci) and Putzie (Kelly Ward). The principal of Rydell is Principal McGee (Eve Arden), who is assisted by they bumbling Blanche (Dody Goodman). Other characters include football coach Calhoun (Sid Caesar), auto-mechanics teacher Mrs. Murdock (Alice Ghostley), Vince Fontaine (Edd Byrnes), Cha Cha DiGregorio (Annette Charles), older malt shop waitress (Ellen Travolta) and a cameo by Frankie Avalon as the Teen Angel. The musical group Sha Na Na is also featured.
Casting for "Grease" continues to be an issue for many people after 25 years because the average age of the actors who portrayed the Pink Ladies & T-Birds (including Olivia Newton-John) was 28. (The oldest was 34 and the youngest was 20 when it was filmed.) Of these, Stockard Channing performed best, followed by Didi Conn and Jeff Conaway. Eve Arden and Dody Goodman work very well together in the film. The most memorable scenes in the film include Sandy meeting the Pink Ladies & finding Danny, the sleep over, trips to the malt shop, the drive-in, Frenchy's dream, the school dance, the drag race and the carnival. My ratings (out of 5 stars) for some of the songs in the film include:
* "Grease" (4, sung by Frankie Valli.) Title song.
* "Summer Nights" (4.5, sung by Olivia Newton John & John Travolta.) On the first day of class.
* "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" (5, sung by Stockard Channing.) At the sleep over.
* "Hopelessly Devoted To You" (5, sung by Olivia Newton-John.) At the sleep over.
* "Sandy" (4, sung by John Travolta.) At the drive-in.
* "Greased Lightnin'" (4, sung by John Travolta & the T-Birds.) At the high school auto-mechanics shop.
* "Beauty School Dropout" (5, sung by Frankie Avalon.) Frenchy's dream.
* "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" (5, sung by Stockard Channing.) At school.
* "You're The One That I Want" (4, sung by Olivia Newton John & John Travolta.) At the carnival.
* "We Go Together" (4.5, sung by entire cast.) At the carnival.
"Grease" was never intended to be a serious film. Instead, it was intended to be a silly, fun and entertaining comedy with rock-n-roll music from the late 1950's. Overall, I rate "Grease" with 4.5 (raised to 5) out of 5 stars for its fun music and great entertainment value. Some problems plagued the release of "Grease" on DVD, such as the royalties lawsuit filed by Olivia Newton-John in 1998 and the need that Paramount had to blur product signs in the malt shop (which some viewers may find offensive). The film is not perfect, but it is still a very entertaining and I highly recommend it.
Following "Grease", Randal Kleiser went on to direct the ill-fated 1980 film "The Blue Lagoon" and Olivia Newton-John starred in the 1980 box-office bomb "Xanadu". John Travolta went on to star in the very popular 1980 film "Urban Cowboy", but his acting career suffered until his role as a mobster in the 1994 film "Pulp Fiction" revived it. Olivia Newton-John and Randal Kleiser worked together again on the 1996 film "It's My Party".
on June 12, 2003
Most people would think that you could'nt write a good movie about rock&roll. This movie sure proves them wrong. The songs are great, and the movie is great.
I said that the songs were a great part of the movie. Here they are.
2. Summer Nights-8/10
3. Hopelessly Devoted To You-3/10
4. You're The One That I Want- 10/10
6. Beauty School Dropout-5/10
7. Look At Me, I'm Sandra D.-7/10
8. Greased Lightning-9/10
9. It's Raining On Prom Night-3/10
10. Alone at the Drive-In-Movie-1/10
11. Blue Moon-9/10
12. Rock "N" Role is Here To Stay-8/10
13. Those Magic Changes-10/10
14. Hound Dog-4/10
15. Born To Hand Jive-4/10
16. Tears On My Pillow-2/10
18. Freddy My Love-0/10
19. Rock "N" Role Party Queen-8/10
20. There Are Worse Things I Could Do-3/10
21. Look At Me, I'm Sandra D.(Reprise)-5/10
22. We Go Togeter-10/10
23. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing-4/10
As you can see, there are some VERY bad songs, but for the most part, the songs are pretty good. The whole movie was even better than the songs. The whole idea of the movie is a senior high schooler comes to the U.S. and goes to a cheap high school. There, she runs into a guy she met in the summer, who is in a car gang that is against another car gang. Throughout the year, this girl ( her name is Sandy) and her friends deal with the guy(his name is Danny) and his friends. The movie pretty much told about the "typical" high scholl senior's problems, except in a more 60's background. The movie actually took place in the 70's. At the end, Danny's car gang beats the rival gang in a car race, and at the end of the movie, the whole gang of guys and girls gets back together without any problems at the end of the year. The movie is all in all VERY good. Buy it today.
on June 5, 2003
Probably the greatest musical of all time, Grease (starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta) shows us the fun of its generation. With the acting, the story, and the flawless music featured in Grease, it's no wonder why it has gotten such critical acclaim.
When Danny Zuko (Travolta) and Sandy Olsen (Newton-John) fall in love over the summer, Sandy delivers the news that she'd be leaving back to her home in Australia. But as the new year at Rydell begins, Sandy has a change of plans and stays in the U.S. Once re-united with Danny (thanks to Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing), Sandy is delighted to once again see Danny, and Danny is just as overwhelmed. But he believes that his masculinity and his leadership is being questioned when he has trouble expressing his love for Sandy in front of the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, so he decides to play it cool - which would end up in Sandy becoming confused and seeing Danny in a different way, yet she remains in love with him. But eventually, things do work out between Sandy, Danny, the Pink Ladies, and the T-Birds - this movie is packed with great acting, not to mention the great songs featured in it.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta shocked viewers everywhere when they broke out into song. Catchy songs such as "Greased Lightning" (sung by John Travolta), "Summer Nights" (sung by Olivia and John), and "You're The One That I Want" (sung by Olivia and John) - which is the signature song of the movie, became instant national hits. Olivia's solo song "Hopelessly Devoted To You" shows how much of an angel she is, pouring out her sweet voice to beautiful lyrics.
This movie was well excecuted. It's a legend of its own time. This is a must-see, and of course, a must-have for any lover of great movies.
on February 11, 2003
Grease is everything a musical film should be. It is a visual and aural feast that has captured the imaginations of audiences for over 25 years. Everything is larger than life and the action occurs amidst a riot of 1950s colour. Who cares if the cast is largely composed of 30-somethings playing teenagers? The key to Grease's success is not realism, but the enormous amount of infectious energy exuded by the cast.
This zest for life is particularly apparent in the lively and eminently sing-able chorus song-and-dance numbers. The tunes of retro party favourites such as 'Greased Lightning' and 'You're The One That I Want' will probably be familiar to many viewers, but lesser known songs, including the short and sarcastic 'Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee' and 'Beauty School Drop-Out' (with Frankie Avalon in the role of guardian angel) are also fun toe-tappers.
Musicals work best when, like Grease, they concentrate on the music rather than the plot; however, the story here is completely adequate. Sandy and Danny had a summer fling at the beach, but at school Danny has an image to uphold - which Sandy doesn't really fit - so their senior year at Rydell High is spent in a daze of "will-they-won't-they" teenage angst.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John set the screen alight as Danny and Sandy; there are some fabulous character roles in the "Pink Ladies" and "T-Birds" school cliques, and some very funny cameos - particularly the pairing of Principal McGee and Blanche the office lady. There are sexual innuendoes aplenty if you look hard enough, and despite the fact that the movie is set half a century ago, the viewer is led to conclude that teenagers have been, and will always be, teenagers.
on January 2, 2003
My DVD collection is small but very select. Grease was one movie I knew I needed to own. This anniversary edition DVD is great because of the cast interviews AND there is even a little song book included so you can sing along to some of the best music that will bring back the feeling of the 50s and early 60s.
It is a little hard to believe that it's been more than 20 years since it first came out until you look at the actors! Travolta and Newton-John look SO YOUNG! But this movie still gets to me every time I watch it. There are great songs (Greased Lightnin', Summer Nights, You're the One that I Want) and memorable performances (Stockard Channing as Rizzo is a classic!).
The story brings back a time when teens were "boys and girls", not very sophisticated in the ways of the big bad world. It evokes a little bit of the feel of my teen years and those are the clothes (poodle skirts, petticoats, bobby socks and saddle shoes) that I remember. Sure, sexuality simmered just under the surface, but there were more 'Sandra Dees' than there were 'Cha Chas' and the Rebels didn't run the schools and dictate the tastelessness that seems to rule today. Underwear was worn under outerwear and the most anyone saw was a droopy bra strap.
The story is sweet, simple and classical. Boy meets Girl, they fall in love, there is a bumpy patch and then Everyone lives happily ever after. In "Grease" getting to The End is lots of fun! There are songs for every occasion and some of the most energetic and exciting dance sequences in a contemporary movie. John Travolta is wonderful as Danny Zucko and Olivia Newton-John makes a perfect Sandy.
I always have a great time when I see this movie. I bet you will, too.