It’s one of cinema’s classic musicals — but when Grease returns to the Stardust drive in Theatre this Friday Oct 4 along with the cult classic the Outsiders will sure transport you back in time where it all began…. the crazy days of summer …. Old School style…..
The Outsiders, Francis Ford Coppola (b1939) was a key figure in the Hollywood new wave of the 1970s, both for his directorial work – The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979) – and for his company, American Zeotrope, which enabled films as varied as THX 1138 (1971) and Hammett (1982) to be made. But Coppola always flirted with financial disaster, and the losses of One From the Heart (1982) forced Zeotrope’s temporay closure. Coppola found backing from Warner Bros, however, for The Outsiders, and took the opportunity to continue his experiments in electronic cinema production with his mobile film unit, the “Silver Fish”.
How book and film compare: Shot on location in Tulsa, and with Hinton as scriptwriter, Coppola’s adaptation is remarkably faithful to its source. He was originally inspired to option The Outsiders by a letter from a school librarian in Fresno, California, which told him the book was cult reading among local teens, so he knew there was a built-in market for it. Taking his cue from the Robert Frost poem Nothing Gold Can Stay that Hinton cites in the novel, Coppola shamelessly amplifies the emotions it evokes (even commissioning a Stevie Wonder song, Stay Gold, for the soundtrack).
Inspirations and influences: Generally considered the first “brat pack” movie because of the future activities of its cast (Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, C Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise), The Outsiders also set a template for teen-oriented films of the 1980s in that it prized adolescent emotion and experience above the numbness and pettiness of the adult world. The Outsiders is particularly parent-free, but The Breakfast Club (1985) slogan “When you grow up, your heart dies” is true of all teen movies of the period.
WATCH THE TRAILER:
[youtube width=”840″ height=”473″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tgJqnVMAtc[/youtube]
One of the less essential reissues of recent years (it knows it, too – this is bashfully packaged as “for one night only”) invites you to boogie back in time to … when, exactly? 1978, when it was shot? 1959, when it was set? But all in all Grease has aged pretty well: perhaps because it was so loosely tethered to any time anyway, perhaps because its soapy, anticlimatic structure makes it such an easy watch. There’s a surprising strain of filth, too – this is much closer to Hairspray than High School Musical. The message is: burn rubber, have sex, strut about like a chicken. It’s one that’s hard to resist
The popular 1950s musical might not have bagged any major awards when it was released on June 16, 1978, but right from the start, the surprisingly raunchy John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John star vehicle was a bona fide crowd-pleaser.
Made for just $6 million, Randal Kleiser’s film has taken almost $400 million at the international box office.
In the US, it sang and danced its way to a staggering $188 million, making it the highest grossing musical of all time. (Les Miserables, by comparison, took $148 million and Mamma Mia $144 million.)
Unlike many of its contemporaries, Grease has exhibited extraordinary staying power – spawning its own special barbie doll collection, which is still available online, a singalong version and countless stage revivals over the past three decades.
The soundtrack featured two Billboard No.1 hits – Grease, written by Barry Gibb and sung by Frankie Valli, who had no other connection to the film, and You’re the One That I Want, sung by Travolta and Newton-John.
WATCH THE TRAILER:
[youtube width=”840″ height=”473″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xscJ3C4bUYE[/youtube]