After years of curiosity I finally watched John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever from 1977. It definitely was an ear and an eye full. The film is about Tony (John Travolta), a young Italian who works part-time in a paint shop, lives with his parents and happens to be an all-star dancer. To the infectious tunes of the Bee Gees, Tony club dances with his friends and lots o’ women. Tony meets Stephanie, a girl who is actually hard to get, something Tony’s not used to. The two develop a friendship, win a dance contest and kind of fall for each other.
As a female viewer I went back and forth between loving and hating Tony, which I think was the director’s goal. When you’ve got a cocky asshole character the viewer is meant to go back and forth. For some reason women love bad boy jerks. But we also love to hate them. They are the best swooners but will use and abuse you. Tony was even a jerk to his own parents, hitting and cussing at them. But Tony was also kind of sweet because he was a loyal friend and kind of dumb but in that dumb dog way that is cute. The tical Italian stereotypes were in full force in this movie. Tony was aggressive but at the same time could be crying to his mama at the dinner table. Tony’s friends were even more stereotypical because they pretty much had no redeeming factors.
This movie is very campy. It’s dated and the hair and outfits (and high-heeled shoes on men) were so funny to see. It was odd but refreshing to see a young Travolta. Travolta has definitely been in a mix of films, including amazing ones like Pulp Fiction and White Man’s Burden, but also crappy ones like Wild Hogs and Domestic Disturbance. He did very well in this film, and was smoking hot with those abs. Karen Lynn Gorney played Stephanie and while I’m not familiar with the actress she did a great job.
Definitely see the film if you want to see a standout role by a young Travolta. The music, outfits and dance moves were great and if you don’t feel like dancing while watching this film something is wrong with you!