How big movies created even bigger franchises and Hollywood made lots of money.
Grease is a massive hit, until the sequel
A camp, silly and entertaining shuffle down nostalgia lane for those who have no memory or experience of 50s Americana.
☞ by Allen Therisa in Sequel Fever
A camp, silly, ridiculous and highly entertaining shuffle down nostalgia lane for those who have no memory or experience of 50s Americana.
Grease is the word (whatever that actually means) as adults playing teens fall in and out of lust under the Californian sun whilst belting out some of the most annoying and annoyingly infectious songs committed to film. Travolta and Newton-John do the business and wow a generation or two (until Grease falls out of favour with the Woke crowd), though the same cannot be said for Caulfield and Pfeiffer in Grease 2.
THAT TRANSLATES INTO?
Partly based on a reasonably successful stage musical, the 1978 film version takes the world by storm and triggers multiple viewings by a young audience that becomes obsessed with a movie the critics love to hate on its original release.
Grease cements the career of John Travolta (at the time one of the hottest properties around due to the success the year before of the tougher and cruder Saturday Night Fever) and re-introduces Olivia Newton-John to a world that had almost forgotten about her.
Director Randal Kleiser and über-producer Robert Stigwood (who, after managing disco kings The Bee Gees, had learnt a thing or two about catchy tunes) deliver the goods with a snappy and funny take on adolescence angst and horniness. On Grease's release, nobody particularly cared that the leads were way too old to play High School students, but they did love the songs (You're The One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Grease etc.) and subsequently bought the soundtrack album by the skipload.
Loosely based on artsy-fartsy snoozer West Side Story, Grease is better-paced and more entertaining. It's a crowd-pleaser all right and goes on to become a massive hit and a guilty pleasure for millions. It also made a star of powerhouse actor Stockard Channing, for which we should be eternally grateful.
Grease 2 (1982)
Oh no, it's a half-hearted sequel.
Released four years later, Grease 2 is best summed up by its tagline: "Grease is still the word!" Really?
Featuring pouting and painfully pretty leads Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease 2 takes up where Grease left off, with a new student intake at Rydell High. Caulfield is the English bait for a somewhat distracted and distracting Pfeiffer (here perennially peering into the Californian sun, possibly searching for an escape from the movie). There are songs (of a sort), an attempt at dancing, and the re-appearance of some of the original characters from Grease (though not, sadly, the entertaining ones).
Sank without a trace to the universal sound of booing on original release, though Grease 2 has developed something of a cult status since then, though nothing to challenge the monumental following that is its big daddy.
THE BEST OF THE LOT IS?
It's a vulgar movie with a coarse and sweaty undercurrent of sex, drugs and violence, and it's a sign of Grease's success that the movie has returned again and again to the stage for a series of international runs that continued, for a while at least, to bring in the cash and secure the legend, until it sort of got cancelled.
The critics may have thrown alliterative rocks at the screen back in 1978 and then when it came round again and again, but Grease was indeed the word for a long time and remains that way in the hearts of many.
AND, OH DEAR, THE WORST?
Perhaps proving how difficult it is to bring this kind of schlock successfully to the screen, Grease 2 will forever be the lilting echo of the original chorus. It's clunky, and serviceable, though the leads were perhaps more credible with the critics back in 1982.
If not the audiences.
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