HIDDEN GEMS: 13. GREASE
Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome.
The fifties were an innocent time. Cheerleaders in bobby socks, Rock n’ Rollers in leather jackets and slicked back hair, Summer loving happened some would say too fast and everyone went to school until they were in their mid-thirties. Olivia Newton-John plays Sandy Olsen, an Australian housewife who has come to America to hang out in high school. John Travolta is Danny Zukko, a slightly younger version of the Fonz, who falls for Sandy during a brief holiday romance, only to find her at his school. Unable to connect with her again because of the homo-eroticism of his middle aged man leather gang, Danny spoons around singing and Sandy, befriended by the local girls (less so the acerbically fun Stockard Channing), sings about girl’s nights etc.
There’s a James Dean style dragster race along a dry river bed, a dance contest and a subplot about pregnancy, but we’re all just marking time happily enough until school breaks up once more and we finally can fly off into space on a magical car!
The genius of this little known film – you are more likely to have seen Grease 2 – is its absolute pig-headed determination to not give a shit. It is exuberant fun with a bucket of good tunes, breezy good humor and the sense that youth is wasted on the young, so we’ll be young again too. John Travolta took years to recover from the disappointment of the films commercial and critical failure, only resurfacing in the mid nineties with Broken Arrow.
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