The third film in the marathon features souped up cares and a greased up John Travolta, that’s good enough for me!
Screenplay By: Bronte Woodward
Directed By: Randal Kleiser
The thing that I like about a great musical is that the song and dance numbers aren’t just song and dance numbers. The singing and the dancing is in service of a greater story, of characters who are given depth beyond being mere dancing and singing machines. Grease falls short in this respect, its characters are cute no doubt but they are shallowly crafted characters. The story is serviceable, but it never breaks free from the realm of merely being serviceable. No matter how great the song and dance numbers may be they can not overcome a thread bare story and thin as paper characters.
Despite those shortcomings Grease is a film that I found very entertaining. I knew instantly why so many songs from the film have been in my pop culture awareness for so many years without knowing where said songs came from. Every song in Grease is catchy, wonderfully constructed, and performed at a very high level. Accompanying the songs is the dancing which is equally as admirable. I never thought I’d be writing about the great dance moves of Jeff Conaway or John Travolta, but that’s what I’m writing. They, along with the rest of the cast, are really outstanding. The dance choreography of Patricia Birch is worthy of a lot of the credit for how great the dancing is, but the actors more than hold their own weight. The dance style is a mixture of 50s bop and 40s swing, and it is very pleasing to watch.
While the story and characters of Grease come up wanting, the comedic aspects of the film are top notch. This is another area that surprised me, I didn’t expect Grease to be as funny as it was. I don’t believe there are moments of unintentional hilarity in Grease, but I do think all those involved have fun with the ridiculousness of certain elements within the film. Somehow I think the vibrant colors and cinematography helped with how much I laughed during Grease. The colors helped the film stand out, my eye was catching certain moments and seeing the funny actions of individual people because of the way that the radical colors clashed with one another. The cinematography was wide open, this allowed me to take in a lot of background action and some of that was just as comedic as what was happening in the foreground.
Grease is a film that is more than worthy of its place in the pop culture lexicon. It’s fitting that a film about the poppy nature of cars, greasers, and women in the 1950s is a very poppy effort. The songs are all excellent, the dance numbers are energetic and fun, and the film contains lots of laughs. There are better musicals out there, but Grease is a boatload of fun and a musical that should stick with everyone who watches it, for the dancing just as much as for the music.