Suddenly I seem to be caught up in the mood for musicals. Watching West Side Story recently has somehow given me the motivation to dig deep into my collection of classic musicals and I decide on this John Travolta, Olivia Newton John gem. While this is certainly not in the same league and class as West Side Story, it does however deserves to be similarly classified as an evergreen classic.
Watching Grease now, some 40 plus years after it was first released, I realised how well made the movie was and how well it is able to withstand the test of time. Under the direction of Randal Kleiser, the film appears to be deceivingly simple and feathered brained. It is in fact very well made at multiple levels including the all important dance choreography, the memorable settings and costumes (the film is amazingly colourful), the lively songs, and the fantastic screen chemistry of its two leading super stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. Sadly, I have to say that Hollywood seem to have lost the ability to produce such superstars in recent times. Travolta was really into his role as the randy Danny who has the crush on innocent looking Sandy from Australia. Olivia Newton John is not a movie star by profession and she was arguably too old to play the role of college student Sandy. However she manages to pull it off in flying colours making us all fall in love with her charm and singing. Randal Kleiser went on to make other movies like The Blue Lagoon and Flight of the Navigator, but nothing that came close to the brilliance of Grease.
Grease has never a dull moment and maintains it high energy for its entire length. The silly jokes and juvenile behaviour of the characters come across as natural exploits from an era that is almost forgotten. Many of the songs are playful in nature and like all good musicals, there were many memorable tunes to keep you humming days after you have watched this. One of my favourite moments were during the high school dance where Travolta gets to show off some of his trademark cool dancing skills. The staging of the seemingly chaotic party is flawless and demonstrates how well choreographed the long sequence was.
But the most classic moment was of course left to the final act. The build up the definitive moment when a eye popping transformed Olivia Newton John appears and sings “You’re The One That I Want” with John Travolta is legendary, and provides the ultimate climax to a musical.
If you are in want of good entertainment during these dire times and amidst the drought of any good new releases, then, Grease is the word! For the best version possible, try and get your hands on the 4K remastered edition.