'Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Edition'
(John Travolta, Karen Gorney, Barry Miller, et al / DVD / R / (1977) 2007 / Paramount Home Video)
Overview: A 19-year-old Italian American from Brooklyn, Tony Manero (John Travolta), works in a humble paint store and lives with his family. After dark, he becomes the polyester-clad stallion of the local nightclub; Tony's brother, a priest, observes that when Tony hits the dance floor, the crowd parts like the Red Sea before Moses!
DVD Verdict: "Saturday Night Fever" is a late 70's classic coming-of-age film. When I saw this movie, in a packed theater on Staten Island, New York in the winter of 1977 the people around me seemed to miss the point. When Karen Lynn Gorney's character Stephanie tells John Travolta's Tony he's going nowhere the audience booed her & clapped for his response, "What the "f" you got? A stairway to the stars?"
After the film's release, some people were emulating Tony's friend's negative & sometimes stereotypical behavior. The movie's message was to better yourself, but some people just didn't get this simple premise. Karen Lynn Gorney was excellent as Stephanie Mangano, the business person/Manhattanite wannabe who mesmerized Tony Manero. Although she was about 32 at the time, she was playing a 20 year old (this was common casting practice in the 70's).
My favorite scene is the touching moments when Tony tells Stephanie all he knows about the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The bridge symbolizes Tony's desire to get out of Brooklyn. If it had been The Brooklyn Bridge this scene would have made more sense, because the Verrazano Bridge connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, not Manhattan (a place we're their lives will supposedly get better).
The language is authentic, the clothing, music & dancing are filled with 70's nostalgia. The film is NOT politically correct in any way. Therefore, it's very realistic, "in-your-face", & represents the time & place in which it was made. If you have an interest in late 70's pop culture this movie is a must see.
I guess I should also add that the movie does contain a lot adult material and profanity which is not suitable for children or teenagers. It's more for adults in my opinion. Back then when it was released, it was perhaps a little extreme unlike today where it seems normal for a movie to contain this kind of material. But it's still a movie worth seeing - espcially now with all these wonderful new special features in this 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition DVD!
Travolta’s dancing partners (man, one of them has really packed on the pounds), his on-screen buddies and even the guy that owned the paint store reminisce about making John Badham’s surprisingly successful ode to strobe lights and flappy flares in many an Audio Commentary.
Via a brief but entertaining-enough documentary we learn how the movie came about; how Travolta got involved; where they shot it, and how surprised they were that it made a buck. No mention of the sequel though, funnily enough.
Another featurette sees co-star Joseph Cali (‘Joey’) wandering around the streets of Brooklyn pointing out all the filming locations. From time to time, he stops the odd guy in the street, or at the pizza parlour, introduces himself as “one of the stars of Saturday Night Fever” and asks them what they remember about the movie. Not surprisingly – considering they were all probably paid a hundred bucks to say something – most remember a fair bit. One guy even shows the ‘original door’ that Tony (Travolta) walked through to get to the paint store in the movie. Wow. Pause button stuff.
And if you’re still on the edge of your seat, try the featurette where a real-life dance coach (he introduces himself by explaining that he taught the likes of ‘Elizabeth Hurley’ to dance for a movie. Man, what a catch.) teaches you how to dance like Travolta. It’ll only take you two weeks to learn, but its lots of fun. Or so the dance teacher tells us. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by Director John Badham
Catching The Fever - 5 Featurettes
Back To Bay Ridge
Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese
Subtitles in English, French and Spanish