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Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Edition

Genre: , ,

Cast: John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape

Director: John Badham

Rated: R

Review By:
Rocco Passafuime

SUNY Purchase '05

"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore

Release Date: September 18th, 2007
Click to Buy on DVD or Bluray!
Overall Grade: A+

Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Edition

Review By: Rocco Passafuime

Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Edition

In the late 1970's New York City, during a period of great economic unrest, emerging under the radar were clubs called discotheques that played a form of rhythmic-than-thou R&B music called "disco" music. In 1976, writer Nik Cohn attempted to capture this growing movement in an article for New York magazine titled "Tribal Rites Of The Saturday Night".

Upon reading it, music and film entrepreneur Robert Stigwood believed this would make the great basis for a film capturing not only young urban New Yorkers of the era, but the emerging music movement that swelled them in as well. Little did he or anybody know that such a seemingly small film capturing what was going on at the time would become the film that not only epitomized the 1970's, but exploded disco music internationally. The film is none other than Saturday Night Fever, now available in an all new 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition.

Tony Mannero (John Travolta), is a young man from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, NY who works a dead-end job in a paint store. He has no ambitions and he refuses to give into pressure from his traditional family to live up to his brother, Frank, Jr., who's become a priest.

Tony's only moments of real joy are when he and his knucklehead, but loyal friends Double J (Paul Pape), Joey (Joseph Cali), Bobby C (Barry Miller), and Gus (Bruce Ornstein) go out to a local disco club called 2001 Odyssey. There, Tony is known for his incredible dancing skills and worshipped by his former girlfriend, Annette (Donna Pescow).

However, he soon meets Stephanie Mangano (Karen Lynn Gorney), an upscale dancer who he gets to partner up with in 2001's upcoming dance contest. Tony and Stephanie grow closer and closer together amidst the continually wild tomfoolery that occurs among his circle of local chums. Her motivations to move to Manhattan and become successful slowly begin to convince the would-be dance king of 2001 Odyssey that there are possibly greater things in the horizon in his future.

Saturday Night Fever is one of those incredible films that be so groundbreaking and appealing on so many different levels, yet at its heart be so disarmingly simple in spite of or even because of it. Because it manages to capture everything about New York City in the time it was made in all its highs and lows, right down to its often unpleasant racism and vulgarity, it manages to be one of the few films to transcend its time and still work 30 years later because of how authentic the story and characters come off as.

The ever-present soundtrack of now-classic 1970's disco music is so in synch with the film that you can't imagine the two seemingly separate worlds existing together in such perfect harmony without it. Many of the songs fit their respective

scenes so perfectly and truly manage to do a feat only rarely pulled off before or since in film.

Then merely the charismatic star of the popular TV sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, John Travolta gives the performance of his career as he uses every opportunity to infuse his character with so much energy, charisma, and quirkiness that Tony Mannero becomes larger-than-life and yet so real and identifiable. This is buoyed by a great supporting cast who manage to just as fairly effectively compliment this authenticity.

The DVD's picture quality is in the 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio, with the sound quality in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. This all-new 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition features a generous supply of special features.

The first special feature is audio commentary by director John Badham. Badham provides one of the most engaging audio commentaries of all time as he manages to not only be informative, but consistently engaging and enthusiastic and spouting random information throughout the proceedings.

The second feature is a multi-part series of featurettes known as Catching The Fever. It features an incredible bevy of cast members (minus Travolta), crew members, and a host of people influential to the disco scene. Their fond recollections of the different aspects of the film not only are fun and engaging, but really educate you on the period itself.

A 30-Year Legacy deals with the film's conception, production, and continuing impact years after its release. Making Soundtrack History focuses on The Bee Gees and how their music and that of the other performers on the soundtrack were synonymous with the film's impact on popular culture.

Platforms & Polyester focuses on the many idiosyncratic and iconic aspects of 1970's fashion, including Tony Mannero's famous white disco suit, and how they played into the period. Deejays & Discos focuses on how the disco movement emerged, how DJ's became a dominant force in the scene, its explosion after the film's release worldwide, and the infamous Studio 54's effect on the movement. Spotlight on Travolta focuses on John Travolta contributions to the film's greatness and success and heaps of praise are poured on him by everyone interviewed.

Back To Bay Ridge features cast member Joseph Cali in a rather interesting journey to present day Bay Ridge. A few of the features are briefer and have a more interactive feel to them, which is fun for 1970's nostalgia buffs in particular.

Dance Like Travolta With John Cassese where the "Dancer To The Stars" teaches viewers how to dance like in the film. Fever Challenge focuses on learning how to dance in step with the colored dance titles. Rounding out the special features is 70's Discopedia, which is allows you to watch the movie with text popping up continuously, revealing insightful trivia about the era.

All in all, Saturday Night Fever will be one among those few films that manage to endure with every passing

generation. It not only is timeless because it epitomizes growing up in the urban 1970's and disco music, but its also transcendent of the era due to the true-to-life story and characters while simultaneously capturing the period in seemingly spot-on detail. And the special features on this new 30th Anniversary Special Edition only make it further reason to make this a must-own for fans of the film and 1970's nostalgia buffs.

Movie Grade: A+

DVD Features Grade: A+

Overall Grade: A+

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