Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

John Badham

Cast

John Travolta……….Tony Manero
Karen Lynn Gorney……….Stephanie Mangano
Barry Miller……….Bobby C.
Joseph Cali……….Joey
Paul Pape……….Double J.
Donna Pescow……….Annette
Bruce Ornstein……….Gus
Julie Bovasso……….Flo Manero
Martin Shakar……….Frank Manero Jr.

The Movie

For John Travolta, it’s the role that made him an icon. For Gene Siskel, it was the best film ever made. For others, it’s an excuse to break out the leisure suits and some Bee Gees albums for a “70s Disco Night” at the local house party. But for movie lovers everywhere, Saturday Night Fever is a highlight of an era filled with them.

Travolta stars as Tony Manero, a paint store clerk who lives with his parents and doesn’t have much. On the weekends, though, he comes alive in the dance clubs and discos as a dancing sensation. Featuring a soundtrack that turned the disco movement from wanning to dynamic, that changed the landscape of music in the country and one of the great performances of the decade, Saturday Night Fever is a spectacle of music and showmanship.

One wonders what the film would be like without an actor ready to explode like Travolta. Already a household name as Vinny Barbarino in the hit television show Welcome Back, Kotter, this is the role that people look back to and forgive Travolta’s many cinematic transgressions since then. Manero is a dynamic character, stuck between being an adult on his own and being a child living with his parents, he’s waiting for a moment to transform. Travolta would be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance and it’s the one he’s still associated with no matter how many action movie villains and bland comedies he’s starred in since. He’s engrossing in the character, as he dominates the screen in a way that has rarely been seen since. Whether it’s a conversation or the dance floor, Travolta gives a powerful performance that’s remained the staple of his career. While the ill-fated sequel to this film, Staying Alive, the film is pure magic.

And that’s the only to describe it. It’s not the most gripping material, nor is it filled with the sort of brilliance that many films from the era had, but this film has enough magic in it to keep the film special. It’s the tale of a guy who just likes to dance trying to deal with a watershed moment of his life. Fueled by the film’s soundtrack, which was one of the biggest selling albums of its era, Saturday Night Fever is one of the great films of our era.

A/V QUALITY CONTROL

Presented in a Dolby Digital format, with a widescreen presentation, the film has a great presentation but one that hasn’t been improved upon since its release five years ago. The colors are still vibrant; the soundtrack still utilizing the format well, but it’s the same transfer from before.

The Extras

Commentary by director John Badham is the same commentary as on the 25th Anniversary edition DVD release of Saturday Night Fever, so nothing new is on it.

Catching The Fever is a five part feature about the film’s historical significance. Covering Travolta’s ascent to the top of the acting heap to the rise of disco music from the depths it had sank.

Back to Bay Ridge is a look back at the Brooklyn neighborhood where the film was shot. It’s interesting to see how the area has changed.

Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese allows you to learn the dances moves of Travolta from the film by professional dance instructor John Cassese, who’s taught many stars how to dance for various roles. Cassese shows you how to do the technique after demonstrating it; it’s fascinating to watch Cassese show exactly how to dance like Travolta in the film, as he shows the major portions of the dance routines and how to do them.

Fever Challenge is a flashing “follow the lights” game you can play.

70’s Discopedia is a feature that allows you to watch the film and have factoids pop up to provide some facts and insights into the time period ala VH1’s cancelled series Pop Up Video.

Preview for the DVD release of Dreamgirls is included as well.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

10.0
THE VIDEO

9.0
THE AUDIO

9.0
THE EXTRAS

8.0
REPLAY VALUE

10.0
OVERALL
9.0
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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