|Tony (John Travolta) is gonna go steppin'!|
|Tony and the boys AKA "The Faces"|
|Annette (Donna Pescow) waits for Tony|
|Tony and Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney)|
|The Bee- Gees|
|The 'gweedos' of JERSEY SHORE|
JOHNNY CHAZZ: The 1977 release of “Saturday Night Fever” was a hit indeed. The timing was right considering that the late 1970’s was truly the disco era, and the film was highly entertaining. We might look at a film such as “Star Wars” as being another “hit” that year along the same lines of entertaining audiences.
The seventies (1970's) however provided ample films that could be referred to as real phenomenons however. The likes of “Chinatown”, “Taxi Driver”, “The Godfather”, “Jaws”, “Annie Hall”, “The Conversation”, “A Clockwork Orange” and even the foreign influences with “Cries and Whispers” and “Day for Night”. Thus, is it a stretch that “Saturday Night Fever” could be considered a phenomenal film? Safely said: yes.
The film was without question a unique concept with a tremendous style and soundtrack to accompany. To add, this was the film that made John Travolta (as Tony Manero) a household name, and better yet – a true star in
On the other hand, let’s not carry this too far. “Saturday Night Fever” has a nice little story-line and offers excellent eye-candy throughout the film. However, the message is not exactly “deep” to use a generic term here. It is a dance movie dealing with a young man with raging hormones (just look at the ridiculous line: “You gotta decide if you are going to be a nice girl or a ____”) living in the seventies – and that really is the essence at the film’s core.
If we are to take this film at face value, then perhaps it offers us 7 to 8 picture points and that score works just fine for some. However, if we really want more from this film and hope to get to the deeper meaning and the true message(s) being delivered, we fall short and must score the film in a lower range. The plot is thin – that is the truth in all actuality. The performances are marginal to average and the dance sequences combined with the cinematography are all that really save the movie from falling even lower on tally board.
The rape scene has always bothered me as well. It is not the violence or the inherency of the act itself per se, yet it is the fact that the film never really addresses the repercussions of what has occurred on screen. Did it never happen? Are we to just brush it off and say farewell and good tidings to the young girl? The reaction, the journey, the scarring and the end result are what the audience need to experience in this girl’s eyes – and the film completely ignores it. The film, at this level naturally becomes bland, thin and careless which immediately discards the audience at the basic level. The scene is insulting.
|Director JOHN BADHAM|
Is there a sub-plot in this film? Is Tony’s priest-brother that sub-plot? If so, I guess we found our sub plot. What we remember in this film is the music and the dancing – not the plot or the story-line….let’s face it – that is the harsh truth. The film reminds us of an era – an era of disco and carefree behavior in a sense. The Bee Gees are really what immediately come to mind when the topic of “Saturday Night Fever” rises to the limelight of your discussion circle. Is this what I was supposed to get out of the film? I imagine so.
Did we talk about the music already? Oh yes, we did. Moving along-
Where am I? Oh, um.....“Saturday Night Fever” is entertaining and fun – and it was a real platform for both the musical artists on the soundtrack as well as for John Travolta. A classic? For some, perhaps. For this critic? Not even close and yet so far, far away (had to use it. Carole King).
Nope - this is not what we can define as a movie classic by any means. It is, at the very root a film full of “fluff” and “fun”. Grab some milk duds, turn out the lights and listen to “More than a Woman” yet again, and again. It's fun I guess - and the music is pretty good.... (current brain cell loss: 325,204,588)
Ok. What else is on?
Overall Grading (Picture Points) for the Film:
Narrative and Plot: 4/10 (generous here)
Acting: 6/10 (this was generous, but I feel like I have to be kind...)
Cinematography and Editing: 7.5/10
Soundtrack: 9/10 (great soundtrack, but it gets real old....)
Artistic Value: 4/10 (it was either 0 or 4...I chose 4 by flipping a coin)
*** CHAZZ'S PICTURE POINTS: 5.5/10
JER: JC, I will agree with you that there are better films released throughout the 70’s including THE GODFATHER, TAXI DRIVER and even ANNIE HALL. I am not stating that SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER is the absolute definitive film of that decade. What I am trying to state is how this film has never been looked upon as anything other than a send- off on the disco scene…and from the looks of it, you would agree with them. I believe the film has layers that few recognize. It has been lowered to a level of campy fun; it has been made fun of and joked about for years since. The point missed is the true drama beyond the music and dancing.
The subplot you are searching for lies within the choices Tony makes about his life throughout the story. There is a constant ‘flip of the coin’ of decisions that lean for the better or worst that takes him down various avenues and paths that lead to his ultimate choice made in the end. It might be fair to say that story suffers from certain holes in the story: What happens to Brother Frank? I will also include your raised concerned about Annette and the controversial rape that occurred. I believe that such topics were and still continue to be very difficult to deal with on the screen and Tony almost closes that moment when he looks back at her with disgust and states, “Well, I guess you are a _ _ _ _.” A crude remark indeed considering what has just happened to her, but by her own instigations and willfulness to excess in pills and alcohol and quickly flirting with Tony’s friends to get over Manero may have been the results developed by her own doing. It is hard to analyze the choices made by director John Badham and why it is closed- up so quickly… maybe it was an editor’s view or even
The fact of the matter is this: It is an R- rated film for good reason. I do not like the PG version whatsoever. The plot gets too watered down and it does become a film focused on music and dance and lags on the harsh plots and dramatic aspects it was designed to illustrate.
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