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 July 10, 2004
Firstly because it reminds me of a carefree and happy time in my life. I saw this in the summer of 1978 when I was 12 years old and the only thing I had to worry about was making sure I didn't have any overdue library books, keeping the lawn mowed and starting ninth grade in the fall. Secondly because there's some great pop music in this movie, _Hopelessy Devoted to You_ is one of the best pop songs about unrequited attraction ever written. Thirdly because of the subtext of this movie, the lesson this movie teaches you is that in order to get ahead you have to be a slut, just look at the way Olivia Newton John (who was 30 when this movie was made) turns from a good girl at the beginning of the movie into a leather trouser wearing slut at the end. Fourthly I love this movie because all of the actors in it are so obviously too old to be in high school. I figured as a kid that this was because the lead paint factory at the town of Rydell was dumping a lot of stuff into the water supply in those halcyon, pre-EPA days of the 1950s and the resulting heavy metal poisoning made the children of Rydell somewhat slow, which was why they were all still in high school even though they were in their late 20s and early 30s.
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 May 11, 2004
When two teenagers by the name of Danny (John Travolta) & Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) fall in love, while they meet eachother on the Beach in the Summertime in the late 1950`s. Since Sandy is from a different country, Danny thinks that his girlfriend would return to Australia. But when School Starts... Danny is a gang member of the T-Birds. which is run by his best friend (Jeff Conaway). When the gang of the Opposite Sex called the Pink Ladies, which is run by Rizzo (Stockard Channing). The Pink Ladies mmet Sandy and they put her with Danny together. Since Sandy doesn`t seems cool enough to be a member with the Pink Ladies. Sandy wants to be with Danny or That Danny seems that he couldn`t date Sandy. Because Danny is Committed to his gang.
Directed by Randal Kleiser (The Blue Lagoon, Flight of the Navigator, It`s my Party) made a entertaining Comedy-Musical set in High-School in the life of Teengers of the 1950`s. This film is based on a Popular Broadway Show by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey. The film`s fun performances by the Cast, The Songs, Style & Especially the Choreography by Patricia Birch highlights this Energetic, Imaginative Filming (Cinematography is done by Bill Bulter-Anaconda, Frailty, Jaws). This was One of the Largest Box Office Hits of 1978 and It`s still One of the Best Selling Soundtracks, so far. This film was even re-release in 1998 to respectable Box Office. DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer & an digitally remastered-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD Extras are:Grease Songbook, Retrospective Interviews with the Cast & Crew and the Original Theatrical Trailer. This film seems never to be aged, because of Kleiser`s sure hand direction. Which is extremely well done, Better Seen in Widescreen. Panavision. Grade:A-.
on February 2, 2004
You all love the movie, so I'm not gonna review that. I am gonna give my review of the EXTRA'S...
The extras are pretty slim, surprising given the demand for Grease on DVD... but NOT surprising if you know anything about the legal history of this film. What we do get includes a collection of interviews with many of the key cast members, director Randall Kleiser and producer Allan Carr. These interviews are basically bland ("It was so great to be a part of this film!"), but it's nice to see all the participants looking surprisingly good after all these years. Fans of the film will love the interview piece, but having seen a VH1: Behind the Music episode a few years ago on the making of the film, what you get here is not that comprehensive. Actually, it's rather odd that they couldn't include that episode, given that VH1 is a corporate partner (and another episode of the show is being included with the Saturday Night Fever DVD). Rounding out the extras is a non-anamorphic trailer for the film.
BTW...If ANYONE buys the FULLSCREEN instead of the WIDESCREEN, you need your head checked. If you are one of the few who dont understand the difference between the 2, watch both versions of GREASE and then tell me which looks better...
on November 2, 2003
I saw this when I was only a little boy, but to this day I can still pop it in the DVD player or the VCR and enjoy the music and acting and just the wonderful vibe it puts out. This was origionaly a musical on broadway and I think Hollywood did a smart thing by making it into a movie and it has become a classic.
Ovewr the summer, Danny and Sandy meet, and seem like the perfect match, but when they suprisingly meet up at the sma eschool the following fall, Danny must keep up his reputation with the T-birds as a tough, macho guy, and at a pep ralley, meets Sandy and makes a fool out of himself saying that the Danny over the summer is gone. Now Sandy wants nothing to do with him and forms a friendship with some off the wall pink ladies and one night, Rizzo goes off and sleeps with kenicky ( spelling? ) and gets pregnant and later in the movie this becomes a big thing at a drive in. And so the story goes with Danny and Sandy going through ups and downs of a relationship, and then singing about them, and I have to say that the end still gives me goose bumps. I don't know what it is, that fact of Olivia newton-john in tight clothes or the singing and fuzzy feling, but it is a great scene.
This is definitaly a good moive and any one of all ages can enjoy it and understand it, except for some language. It is a truely great piece of work!
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".