FBMR - Grease
Film-Buff Movie Reviews


GREASE (1978) ****

When the stage musical open in the early 70s, it took Broadway by storm. The ushers and usherettes were dressed in jeans and T-shirts, and poodle skirts, respectively. Fifties music was being played overhead, and the theatre was decorated like a sock-hop. Right off the bat, people knew that this musical was going to be cool. It even had John Travolta ... in the Chorus.

Several years passed, the show was a monumental success, and in America that spells movie deal. And so, in 1978, starring John Travolta ... in the lead character of Danny Zucco this time, and Olivia Newton-John, the film version of the hit Broadway musical opened. It too was a huge success.

And itís legacy lives on today. I was at Camp Kagama this year and 10 year old campers, and 17 year old counsellors were asking my if Iíd brought the Grease soundtrack to play on our sound system. Sure enough I had and within minutes everyone was doing the hand jive. Grease has stood the test of time. And itís a heck of a lot of fun too.

The music is slightly different in the film version than the stage version. Song have been added and/or taken away. Iíve only ever seen the film, so I canít tell you which I prefer. Theyíre probably both equally good. I love the music in the film, and dancing to it, and singing along to it. That tells me that a movie is very special when people young and old are compelled to sing along with the music. MOULIN ROUGE also seems to have that effect on my friends and me.

The choreography isnít anything too complicated, that I could tell ... unlike MOULIN ROUGE which appeared to be extremely complex. And you could tell, especially when Danny is dancing, that the movie was made at the height of the disco era. Itís subtle enough, but I donít think they moved their hips like that in the 50s.

For those who have never seen the film (shame on you), here is a brief synopsis. Danny and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) meet and spend the Summer together at the beach. As the school year approaches, Sandy informs Danny that sheíll have to be heading back home to Australia. Both are sad. Back at Rydell High School, Dannyís bragging to his friends about the chick he scored with at the beach, while Sandyís parents had a change of plans and she enrolls at Rydell, unbeknownst to Danny, of course. When they finally see each other again, Danny, influenced by his jabroni friends, acts like a jerk and kinda brushes Sandy off. But you can already see that he feels bad about it. And so the task of proving himself to her begins. The supporting cast is great too, theyíre all very colourful and interesting to watch.

This is another one of those rainy-day, feel-good movies. It never fails to make me smile and sing.

IMDb - Grease