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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grease (1978)

In 1950s Southern California, a visiting Australian teenage girl (Olivia Newton-John) and a local greaser (John Travolta) share a summer romance. But when she unexpectedly enrolls as a student at his high school, they discover how different they really are. Based on the 1971 hit Broadway musical, I suppose one "had to be there" to appreciate this energetic pastiche of faux fifties pop and stereotypes. The film never tries to be anything more than what it is ..... a fun musical that winks affectionately at the naive innocence of its era. Taken that way, one would have to be a bit of a curmudgeon not to fall under its captivating spell. Travolta was at the height of his budding stardom while the part of Sandy seems tailor made for Newton-John. Directed by Randal Kleiser (his first feature film) and the vigorous choreography, highlighted by the dynamic Born To Hand Jive dance number, is by Patricia Birch. The large cast includes Stockard Channing (terrific though she looks like the oldest high school senior in Hollywood history), Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Joan Blondell, Frankie Avalon, Alice Ghostley, Jeff Conaway, Dody Goodman, Edd Byrnes, Didi Conn, Dinah Manoff, Lorenzo Lamas and Kelly Ward.

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