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John Travolta oozes seductiveness in Saturday Night Fever

It’s almost easy to overlook the more repugnant aspects of his personality

Saturday Night Fever: nothing breaks a fever like a slider!
Saturday Night Fever: nothing breaks a fever like a slider!

Saturday Night Fever made something special out of white polyester and blow-dryers as an extension of one’s arm, and transformed Deney Terrio — John Travolta’s trainer and future host of Dance Fever — into a household name.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta was responsible for spearheading not one but two culture-crippling trends — disco and the mechanical bull — and legendary Chicago showman Oscar Brotman cashed in on both. When it came time for Saturday Night Fever to hit the screen of his Lincoln Village Theatre, rather than dismissing disco as a developmental disconnect, Brotman embraced the craze by transforming a portion of the theatre’s spacious lobby into a mini-disco (or a watch-where-you-step “mine-disco,” as the newspaper ad suggested at the time), a giant Lite Brite box located to the right of the concession stand. (Years later, a bucking machine was erected on the same spot to celebrate the opening of Urban Cowboy.) Further, a giant likeness of Travolta painted on the side of the building seemed to stretch to the sky.

Mine Disco is located in the lobby to the left of Mein Concession Stand. "Chicago Tribune," December 16, 1977.

Adding to the disco delirium, Brotman raided the Fred Astaire Studio and hired pros to prance delightedly on stage before each show and during intermission. A brace of Tony Manero wannabes in attendance that opening night pelted the entertainers with a steady stream of discouraging heckles. But like bossman Astaire, the duo’s smiles and fluid moves remained undithered. No one expected a film about a short-lived fad to have such staying power, but this is one that gets better with time.

Had it not been for the film, and the $285 million it took in, disco would have been dead by 1977. We open memorably on a paint run through the streets of Brooklyn that invites audiences to follow the bouncing can rhythmically dangling from store clerk Tony Manero’s (Travolta) hand. Travolta oozes seductiveness, so much so that it’s almost easy to overlook the more repugnant aspects of his personality: Tony’s joke about a customer’s wife’s ass finds the shnook on the receiving end of the gag laughing and patting him on the shoulder on his way out the door.

Paramount had no faith in the production. The suits considered it a “vulgar little movie” with little to redeem it. As if chain-smoking weren’t enough to earn the film its R rating, Manero is a confirmed sexist, racist, and gay-basher who resorts to attempted rape when he doesn’t get his way. And yet screenwriter Norman Wexler’s dialogue remains as fresh as the day it was written. Travolta fought hard not to sweeten Tony, and if there’s one thing on which to pin the film’s success, it’s the entirely fair approach it takes to the characters. More than dance, this unblinking view of unlikable characters accounts for the film’s enormous staying power.

Mr. Kotter's Sweathog in his New Flick!

John Avildsen was originally set to direct. The VH1 Behind the Music documentary on the DVD Extras finds producer Robert Stigwood blaming Avildsen’s departure on the director’s receiving an Oscar nomination for Rocky. (The Rocky poster that adorns Tony’s wall may be viewed as an olive branch.) Even though The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings was the only film to John Badham’s credit, the director got the call from Stigwood, and two days later was on his way to New York. And while Travolta had played a bit role in Carrie, prior to Fever, he was best known as the Sweathog in the plastic bubble. All things considered, the relative neophyte packed a great deal of creative clout on the set: many of the actor’s improvisations made their way into the final cut. (The “watch the hair” ad-lib was a sincere effort on Travolta’s part to get Val Bisoglio, the actor playing his father, to stop messing up what took hours to create.) Travolta even complained to Stigwood about Badham’s close-up coverage of the climactic number, and the producer agreed, awarding Travolta final cut over the director and editor.

The term “dansical” — a musical without singing — was a new one on me, but the genre fits. The “Night Fever” number offers a welcome respite from the reality that engulfs it. Tony glides into the disco, where, as if on cue, two girls await at the foot of the stairs, each poised to take him by the hand. This spontaneously staged moment morphs into a smoke-filled fantasy world that in no time has a line dance snaking through it.

Audiences loved it, but in the eyes of the studio, there was lots more money to be made by tapping into the youth market. Back in the day, films looking to play major networks would cover certain scenes twice to sweeten the more objectionable dialogue. (The Raging Bull blu-ray includes a sanitized CBS version that’s well worth your time.) Paramount went on to edit six minutes out of the original film, giving it a PG rating for a 1979 reissue. I can’t think of another example of what’s basically an airline print earning a theatrical release.

They might be the same age, but Bobby C. (Barry Miller) would give anything to be like Tony when he grows up. This desperate attempt to borrow a cup of Sal Mineo from Rebel Without a Cause is the film’s one big misstep. Bobby is such a whiny drip, one questions whether he is really engaged or if his pregnant bride-to-be is a delusion. (We never see Pauline.) According to Badham, “They let Barry Miller make the dialogue his own.” Except for one slip-up involving a maudlin conversation between Tony’s brother Frank (Martin Shaker) and Bobby at the bar, Wexler’s script honor’s Tony’s point-of-view. Apart from that one moment, Tony appears in every scene. As for Frank, back living with his parents after resigning from the priesthood, it seems he had long lost his calling. The little belief left in him stemmed from buying into his parent’s bragging rights to having a priest for a kid. There’s a side of Tony that’s happy his brother is no longer the #1 son: his leaving the Church evens the score a bit, or as Tony says, “If you ain’t so good, I ain’t so bad.”

Dan Fusco (Sam Coppola) shares his sagacious thoughts on the future.

The biggest risk was the casting of unknown Karen Lynn Gorney as Tony’s love interest, Stephanie. Though nine years Travolta’s senior in real life, Gorney is called upon to play a character just one year older than Tony. Apparently, audiences of the day were unwilling to buy into a May-December romance. Tony is like Elvis: girls from blocks around bring their handkerchiefs to dab his sweat. Always the prettiest boy on the dance floor, Tony is not the “if you can get into my head, you can get into my bed” type. No matter how good a partner a gal is on the dance floor, when it comes to loving, it’s all about looks — something the too-eager Annette (Donna Pescow) comes up short on in Tony’s estimation. Farrah-feathered Annette waits outside in the cold rather than stand inside the warm dance studio, because she likes to watch Tony walk. Tony laughs it off, yet he doesn’t possess the empathy needed to put his arm around Stephanie when she breaks down.

We’ll close with a cherished anecdote that was confirmed by the man who originated it: Roger Ebert, while in town for the 2006 Country Fair. His critical better-half and Saturday Night Fever groupie Gene Siskel bought Travolta’s iconic white suit at a charity auction. Upon learning this, Ebert quipped, “Anyone who would pay $2000 for John Travolta’s suit from Saturday Night Fever has snot for brains.”

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Saturday Night Fever: nothing breaks a fever like a slider!
Saturday Night Fever: nothing breaks a fever like a slider!

Saturday Night Fever made something special out of white polyester and blow-dryers as an extension of one’s arm, and transformed Deney Terrio — John Travolta’s trainer and future host of Dance Fever — into a household name.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta was responsible for spearheading not one but two culture-crippling trends — disco and the mechanical bull — and legendary Chicago showman Oscar Brotman cashed in on both. When it came time for Saturday Night Fever to hit the screen of his Lincoln Village Theatre, rather than dismissing disco as a developmental disconnect, Brotman embraced the craze by transforming a portion of the theatre’s spacious lobby into a mini-disco (or a watch-where-you-step “mine-disco,” as the newspaper ad suggested at the time), a giant Lite Brite box located to the right of the concession stand. (Years later, a bucking machine was erected on the same spot to celebrate the opening of Urban Cowboy.) Further, a giant likeness of Travolta painted on the side of the building seemed to stretch to the sky.

Mine Disco is located in the lobby to the left of Mein Concession Stand. "Chicago Tribune," December 16, 1977.

Adding to the disco delirium, Brotman raided the Fred Astaire Studio and hired pros to prance delightedly on stage before each show and during intermission. A brace of Tony Manero wannabes in attendance that opening night pelted the entertainers with a steady stream of discouraging heckles. But like bossman Astaire, the duo’s smiles and fluid moves remained undithered. No one expected a film about a short-lived fad to have such staying power, but this is one that gets better with time.

Had it not been for the film, and the $285 million it took in, disco would have been dead by 1977. We open memorably on a paint run through the streets of Brooklyn that invites audiences to follow the bouncing can rhythmically dangling from store clerk Tony Manero’s (Travolta) hand. Travolta oozes seductiveness, so much so that it’s almost easy to overlook the more repugnant aspects of his personality: Tony’s joke about a customer’s wife’s ass finds the shnook on the receiving end of the gag laughing and patting him on the shoulder on his way out the door.

Paramount had no faith in the production. The suits considered it a “vulgar little movie” with little to redeem it. As if chain-smoking weren’t enough to earn the film its R rating, Manero is a confirmed sexist, racist, and gay-basher who resorts to attempted rape when he doesn’t get his way. And yet screenwriter Norman Wexler’s dialogue remains as fresh as the day it was written. Travolta fought hard not to sweeten Tony, and if there’s one thing on which to pin the film’s success, it’s the entirely fair approach it takes to the characters. More than dance, this unblinking view of unlikable characters accounts for the film’s enormous staying power.

Mr. Kotter's Sweathog in his New Flick!

John Avildsen was originally set to direct. The VH1 Behind the Music documentary on the DVD Extras finds producer Robert Stigwood blaming Avildsen’s departure on the director’s receiving an Oscar nomination for Rocky. (The Rocky poster that adorns Tony’s wall may be viewed as an olive branch.) Even though The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings was the only film to John Badham’s credit, the director got the call from Stigwood, and two days later was on his way to New York. And while Travolta had played a bit role in Carrie, prior to Fever, he was best known as the Sweathog in the plastic bubble. All things considered, the relative neophyte packed a great deal of creative clout on the set: many of the actor’s improvisations made their way into the final cut. (The “watch the hair” ad-lib was a sincere effort on Travolta’s part to get Val Bisoglio, the actor playing his father, to stop messing up what took hours to create.) Travolta even complained to Stigwood about Badham’s close-up coverage of the climactic number, and the producer agreed, awarding Travolta final cut over the director and editor.

The term “dansical” — a musical without singing — was a new one on me, but the genre fits. The “Night Fever” number offers a welcome respite from the reality that engulfs it. Tony glides into the disco, where, as if on cue, two girls await at the foot of the stairs, each poised to take him by the hand. This spontaneously staged moment morphs into a smoke-filled fantasy world that in no time has a line dance snaking through it.

Audiences loved it, but in the eyes of the studio, there was lots more money to be made by tapping into the youth market. Back in the day, films looking to play major networks would cover certain scenes twice to sweeten the more objectionable dialogue. (The Raging Bull blu-ray includes a sanitized CBS version that’s well worth your time.) Paramount went on to edit six minutes out of the original film, giving it a PG rating for a 1979 reissue. I can’t think of another example of what’s basically an airline print earning a theatrical release.

They might be the same age, but Bobby C. (Barry Miller) would give anything to be like Tony when he grows up. This desperate attempt to borrow a cup of Sal Mineo from Rebel Without a Cause is the film’s one big misstep. Bobby is such a whiny drip, one questions whether he is really engaged or if his pregnant bride-to-be is a delusion. (We never see Pauline.) According to Badham, “They let Barry Miller make the dialogue his own.” Except for one slip-up involving a maudlin conversation between Tony’s brother Frank (Martin Shaker) and Bobby at the bar, Wexler’s script honor’s Tony’s point-of-view. Apart from that one moment, Tony appears in every scene. As for Frank, back living with his parents after resigning from the priesthood, it seems he had long lost his calling. The little belief left in him stemmed from buying into his parent’s bragging rights to having a priest for a kid. There’s a side of Tony that’s happy his brother is no longer the #1 son: his leaving the Church evens the score a bit, or as Tony says, “If you ain’t so good, I ain’t so bad.”

Dan Fusco (Sam Coppola) shares his sagacious thoughts on the future.

The biggest risk was the casting of unknown Karen Lynn Gorney as Tony’s love interest, Stephanie. Though nine years Travolta’s senior in real life, Gorney is called upon to play a character just one year older than Tony. Apparently, audiences of the day were unwilling to buy into a May-December romance. Tony is like Elvis: girls from blocks around bring their handkerchiefs to dab his sweat. Always the prettiest boy on the dance floor, Tony is not the “if you can get into my head, you can get into my bed” type. No matter how good a partner a gal is on the dance floor, when it comes to loving, it’s all about looks — something the too-eager Annette (Donna Pescow) comes up short on in Tony’s estimation. Farrah-feathered Annette waits outside in the cold rather than stand inside the warm dance studio, because she likes to watch Tony walk. Tony laughs it off, yet he doesn’t possess the empathy needed to put his arm around Stephanie when she breaks down.

We’ll close with a cherished anecdote that was confirmed by the man who originated it: Roger Ebert, while in town for the 2006 Country Fair. His critical better-half and Saturday Night Fever groupie Gene Siskel bought Travolta’s iconic white suit at a charity auction. Upon learning this, Ebert quipped, “Anyone who would pay $2000 for John Travolta’s suit from Saturday Night Fever has snot for brains.”

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Comments
24

I just had to Google. And here's what I found: "Paying approximately $2,000 for the suit, Siskel earned more than 72-times that when 17 years later he sold it for $145,000 at a Christie's auction."
Excellent review, by the way.

July 16, 2021

A lucky investment. I stand by Roger's original assessment. And thanks for the kind words. You helped to inspire this piece!

July 17, 2021

Saturday Night Fever was a great movie, but I never found John Travolta "seductive." Even as a kid it was abundantly clear he plays for the other team. And I'm not referring to any baseball rivalry...

July 18, 2021

In showbiz, one never knows who is what! It was common knowledge in the biz that Rock Hudson was gay. But the general public for the most part didn't know or believe it, until he contracted AIDS. But remember that the movie studios used to be called "dream factories" and some things never change, even in 2021. Business is business.

July 22, 2021

The general public didn't want to believe it because he was so good looking. Rock Hudson also seemed very likeable. In the movies anyway.. I really enjoyed all his movies.

July 22, 2021
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
July 25, 2021

Truly one of the most insipid and idiotic pieces of writing ever. How can you profess to either understand or admire the film's "enormous staying power" while at the same time condemning the Bobby C. character as the film's biggest "misstep", or the scene that is Wexler's most naked condemnation of organized religion's toxic effect on the bleak and ignorant world into which his writing has thrust us? If anything is "maudlin" it's your latent threat about the enormous power that single scene, and Miller's performance, wields over the entire film, and your utter stupidity to perceive it.

Aug. 14, 2021

The reason for the film's enormous staying power has nothing to do with music, dance, or even a chance to see the star in pristine form and everything to do with anticlericalism? And you have the nerve to call me stupid? Frank could have been an actor, shoe salesman, or construction worker, any profession that was chosen not out of personal desire, but because mommy and daddy forced his hand. It's his parents who are toxic, not the Church. The dialog between Frank and Bobby C.in the bar is the dullest exchange in the film: Bobby begs for attention, Frank ignores him. And not once, but 3 or 4 times. Bobby is a lame attempt to add pathos to a film that otherwise shuns it. His simpering presence and suicide are as out of place as a disco number in "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word."

Aug. 15, 2021

Not only do I have the nerve to call you stupid, I have the nerve to call you shallow, defensive, and an obviously offended Christian. Anticlericalism is at the the very heart of the film, and Wexler makes that completely clear through an explicit line with Frank (which of course you blatantly ignore) when he says "one day you look at a cross and all you see is a man dying on it" and about his parents, he despises "their fantasies of pious glory"..... The Church's pieties, not Mommy And Daddy themselves. The exchange between Frank and Bobby is about The Church, too (and abortion, in case you didn't notice.) and presents that issue in the most ruthless way, insofar that it clearly shows an innocent trapped by absurd cosmological fascism, like a child crushed under a Nazi boot. More proof? Travolta takes his brother's clerical collar and turns it into a noose....but you didn't see that, right? Of course not. The film makes no attempt to add pathos that isn't already implicit in the screenplay's unapologetic and brutal social critique of Catholicism, of which Bobby C. is the more than powerful messenger and it's true sacrificial lamb. What you're praising as the film's "strength" is called "Thank God It's Friday", a true masterpiece and far superior film than "Fever" with all of it's sexed up disco superficialities, unpolluted by a "simpering suicide" and unnecessary macho cruelty towards a vulnerable lost soul. It's always a misstep when a film has the audacity to ruin someone's good time, isn't it?

"Saturday Night Fever" shunned nothing. You have.

Aug. 17, 2021

Offended Christian? I'm a Jew. I have no soul.

Aug. 17, 2021

Mazeltov! I'm a member of the tribe myself. And it doesn't mean you have no soul. It's just means you don't have a very sensitive one.

Aug. 18, 2021

"I'd like to watch 'Saturday Night Fever' again, not for a nostalgic look back at the disco era and the music that at the time became the backbeat of the nation, but for its rigorous condemnation of the Catholic Church," said no one ever. And what kind of Jew doesn't know that Mazel Tov is two words? Seriously! From now on, I shun you.

Aug. 19, 2021
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Aug. 20, 2021

"No one ever"? HA. Try two Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Chilean director Pablo Larrain, Vanity Fair Magazine, Martin Scorsese, and Frank Rich, the former theatre critic of The New York Times. I hope you like writing your reviews for The San Diego Reader. Because with that kind of insight, that's about as far as you'll ever get.

Aug. 22, 2021

Seriously! You've left the building like Elvis? I guess your defense of "Saturday Night Fever" as an unmitigated classic of purely weightless and fluffy disco kitsch has somehow run it's course. How surprising. Has the seductive ooze of inspiration suddenly dried up from the dripping tip of your wilted pen? No more religious grammar lessons or incisive observations about how lame it is was to have a long-acclaimed dramatic performance get in the way of your enjoyment of "The Hustle"? Or how much Gene Siskel needed to clear out the intellectual phlegm from his head? Really, Mr. Marks, how deep IS your love? Seems to me your sudden silence is an admittance of intellectual defeat and childish egotism that appears to be as petty and as small-time as your future.

Aug. 26, 2021

Like you, Scott,, I would be offended if anyone called ME a Christian. I'd rather be called a hack writer or a drama queen! And I'm not Jewish, nor any religion.

Aug. 27, 2021

You know, Scott, I must admit against my better nature that somehow you've gotten the upper hand in our little cinematic joust with SNF. I feel rather unfulfilled and even a bit sad that our contretemps had to come to such an abrupt end, by way of your (should I say rude?) snit-fit, and reluctance to continue flashing your critical mettle, if not eloquent wit (disco dancing with Pope Francis, brain snot, Yiddish spelling bees, etc.) So, if you have any shred of forgiveness left in your self-proclaimed soulless Jewish heart, could I humbly request your return into the forbidden Arena Of Illogical Opinions, if we were to follow your impassioned argument that SNF, irreparably stained and compromised by the singular aspect of the Bobby C. character's psychological and emotional pain, could never even live up to the pure unadulterated joy of what appears to be the absolute essence of your ideal, namely Allan Carr's 1980 "Can't Stop The Music"?

Aug. 27, 2021

The only thing worse than Carr's piece of musical poo was when Carr produced the 61st Academy Awards in 1989. It's considered the worst Oscar show ever. I saw it back then, and I agree totally.

Aug. 28, 2021

Or: There is a certain race of men that either imagine it their duty, or make it their amusement, to hinder the reception of every work of art or genius, who stand as sentinels in the avenues of fame, and value themselves upon giving Ignorance and Envy their first notice to find their prey.

Or: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Or: Bad critics judge a work of art by comparing it to pre-existing theories. They always go wrong when confronted with a masterpiece because masterpieces make their own rules.

Or: The one whose judgment counts most in your life is the one staring back in the glass.

Or: The man who becomes a critic by trade ceases, in reality, to be one at all.

Or: Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.

Or: A critic is a legless man who teaches running.

Or: Pseudo-critics prefer to direct their remarks to the artist, but one due rather to a common impression that such an attitude is the correct one, that all art should be figuratively mutilated, and that all artists are fair game, or really grateful perhaps for a few tips.

Or: The lot of critics is to be remembered for what they failed to understand.

Or: There is no surer mark of the absence of the highest moral and intellectual qualities than a cold reception of excellence.

Or: Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, artist themselves if they could. They have tried their talents at one thing or another and have failed; therefore they turn critic.

Or: Critics are the products of their own times and biases and what they have to say about works of art is as transient and insubstantial as fashion.

Or: Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Or: Anyone can be a critic who has bravado and a following of less-experienced admirers willing to accept their authority. Anyone.

Or: The greater part of critics are parasites, who, if nothing had been accomplished, would find nothing to write about.

Or: No critic writing about a film could say more than the film itself, although they do their best to make us think the opposite.

Aug. 28, 2021

Where "Sex Marks the Scott": I have come to a certain revelation about why you perceive the Bobby C. character as so needless and so personally offensive. Travolta never regained deep respect as a truly great actor except for his performance in SNF, because the role of Tony was essentially the role of a weak and insecure young man playing the role of a hero who convinces others he is to be looked upon as an exemplar of infallible strength, a "star", a "god," a "sex symbol". In actuality, Travolta became a superstar/sex symbol "object" because through the complexity of his performance, he revealed an individual collapsing inwardly from a false persona, a boy unable to free himself from the illusions and values that keeps this "star" persona intact, and withers away in the light of a powerful dynamic that reveals a distorted mirror image of himself in the weakness and conformity of Bobby, his idolater, who equally cannot free himself from playing the role of a willing supplicant to Tony's false persona of "hero/god" which lead to his self-destruction. The key here being the line "there are ways of killing yourself without killing yourself" that Tony utters privately to himself after Bobby falls to his death re-enacting the false ritual of "courage" that is held as the manly "crown of achievement" and height of Tony's value system which maintains everything that is a lie within himself as well as the outer hierarchy of his society as unquestionable, unchangeable, and authoritative. In essence, Bobby is the central overriding and compelling force and catalyst of change that destroys the entire mirage of not only the main character's heroic "role" but the entire spectacle of a community's consensus "reality" (church/state/nation) and therefore destroys the fantasy of the actual "movie star" that you find so attractive in real life. Tony becomes whole in the film by admitting he's no different than Bobby, and this is why you hate the Bobby character so much. It is no coincidence that once "SNF" turned Travolta into the real-life personification of a "sex symbol", most critics have maintained for decades that he never equaled his performance in this single film as an actor (watch his performance in "Moment By Moment" which he shot mere months after completing "Fever" and in which again he plays sex object and stud to career-destroying effect) to know that SNF was a singular phenomena, of which Norman Wexler's screenplay and Miller's emotionally raw performance as Bobby were instrumental if not crucial (and fueled the Bees Gees hit soundtrack, NOT the other way around) and this combination was never to be duplicated. This is something I believe you refuse to admit you have failed to see (unlike Tony Manero) which is why you condemn the Bobby C. character as the film's major flaw. It's egotistical displacement, which mars the vast and impressive scholarship of your criticism and your work.

Aug. 30, 2021

https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-law-begins-the-end-of-abortion-as-weve-known-it (Abortion is illegal in Texas as of September 2021, with $10,000 rewards to citizens to rout out and report for arrest any citizen or clinic who desires it or performs it.)

Gee, Mr. Marks....does the "meaningless and ruinous" scene between Frank and Bobby suddenly deserve a reassessment of your refined aesthetic sensibilities?

Sept. 1, 2021

So after all this time and all these lengthy posts, even one on how an unconstitutional abortion law makes your "single most hated scene in Saturday Night Fever" immediately relevant virtually overnight after almost 45 years... and still NO response, Scott? "Now that's what I call classy" said no one ever. Seriously!

Oh, well. At least I can spell one very simple and concise Yiddish word very easily. It's meaning rolls off the tongue with the most colorful and intentional finality:

"Putz."

Sept. 3, 2021
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Sept. 9, 2021

From an interview with John Badham, director of "Saturday Night Fever":

This is a movie very much of its time and its period but at the same time it’s become timeless. To what can you attribute that to?

I give as much credit as is humanly possible to give to Norman Wexler, the screenwriter, who had such a brilliant talent for getting into the troubled souls of people and that’s what comes out and resonates. You know we like the dancing and we like the music and that’s all really good stuff, but we identify with these characters even though they are of a specific time. But their behavior and attitudes and even their loneliness and despair really continue to resonate with us across decades. And people all the time say to me, “I just saw the movie again. I forgot how powerful the characters are…there’s really a lot there that kind of sits with you.” So all the credit in the world goes to Norman.

Sept. 23, 2021

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