Grease is the Word
During a summer holiday in America, sweet Sandy Olsen meets Danny Zuko and falls in love. But with the summer coming to the end, and the new academic year beckoning, Sandy knows that she will be returning to Australia, and so the young lovers say an emotional farewell. But her parents decide not to return home, and she finds herself being enrolled at the same school as Danny, Rydell High. But at school, Danny is a different person to the one she fell in love with. As the King of Cool, and the leader of the T-Birds, he has an image to maintain and can't be seen to be getting loved up over just one girl, especially someone as sweet and innocent as Sandy. Upset from being rejected and humiliated by Danny, she finds friendship in a gang of girls called The Pink Ladies. But she struggles to fit in, as her good girl image is not what the Pink Ladies is all about, and she finds herself all alone. With the knowledge that she can't stay alone in a new school, she has to make a choice, does she try to find the real Danny, the one she fell in love with, or does she shed her innocent image and become a hot chick.
So put to the back of your mind that the cast were long past being the age of high school kids, and what you have is one very enjoyable and popular musical. Now having reached its 30s, "Grease" still appeals to audiences both young and old, and each year gains even more legions of fans. Following the on-off romance between Danny and Sandy over the period of a school year, we get treated to a plethora of memorable songs and several sub stories. These include the ongoing rivalry between the T-Birds and rival gang the Scorpions, several romances between the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, a dance off where Travolta gets to strut his funky stuff and a car race in a water duct. Yes at times "Grease" is unbelievably cheesy, especially the ending, but it is still fun and no matter how many times you have seen it, you still find yourself enjoying every moment of it.
In the lead role of Danny Zuko is John Travolta (Pulp Fiction) who at the age of just 24 was one of the cast who was closest to still being school age. Grease was the perfect vehicle for Travolta as it allowed him to build on his success from his previous role as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and to catapult him into the world of being a sex symbol. Opposite Travolta was Olivia Newton-John (Xanadu) as the prim and proper Sandy. Although she was great as Sandy, and looked pretty hot, this film left her being type cast, and pretty much killed her career. Amongst the numerous supporting players is Stockard Channing (The First Wives Club) as Rizzo, Jeff Conaway (Babylon 5) as Kenickie, Didi Conn (Grease 2) as Frenchy and Sid Caeser as Coach Calhoun, plus many, many more. Everyone who starred in this film put in brilliant and memorable performances.
"Grease" is directed by Randal Kleiser and in my opinion is his must successful to date. In an era when musicals were going quickly out of fashion, Kleiser managed to make a film which will remain as one of the most popular for years to come. Tapping in on a theme of a teenage romance set in the 50's he was onto a sure fire crowd pleaser, whether you were a teenager on it's release or a fan of the rock 'n' roll sounds.
Undeniably the most important part of this film, being a musical, is the sound track, and this happens to have probably the most popular sound tracks in history. With a good mixture of tunes, from up beat numbers such as "Grease Lightening" and "You're the One That I Want", too the more romantic and thoughtful numbers such as "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and "Tears on My Pillow". Plus some comical numbers such as "Beauty School Drop Out" and "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee". Okay, I bet most of you are singing one of these in your head right now. Whether you liked the film or not, the sound track is definitely very memorable, which is a sign of a good musical.
What this all boils down to is that love it or hate it, no one can deny that "Grease" is one of the most popular movies of all time. It may lack in a decent plot, and outstanding performances but it provides good clean entertainment through its innocent approach. Providing us with so many memorable tunes, and unfortunately numerous bad Karaoke sing alongs, this film harks back to the days when musicals were still in fashion. For the few people who have never seen the film, I would strongly recommend you see it, as it will make you smile and laugh, and more than likely get you singing.