THE BARGAIN BUY: Grease (DVD)

 |   |  2 min read

THE BARGAIN BUY: Grease (DVD)

A fortnight ago when Grease appeared unexpectedly on our small screen we, the Elsewhere household, laughed at the terrible opening credits and thereafter -- both us -- were hooked.

Neither of us had seen it in decades but had fond memories of how silly it was, but by the end we realized what we had missed all those decades in between. How clever it was too.

Between the cheap opening and closing credits (the latter a real letdown when bopping excitement was called for) is a film that shrewdly plays on all the Fifties cliches but dollops in a considerable amount of sex and innuendo, and -- we did know this -- has terrific, memorable songs which work within the genres they adopt.

The songwriting team of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey -- neither of whom did much of any merit subsequently -- knew their way around the tropes of rock'n'roll songs but injected humor into them, as on the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta duet Summer Nights, the cynical Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee, the weeper It's Raining on Prom Night and most especially the standout Beauty School Dropout delivered in the film by the angelic-looking Frankie Avalon.

Add in the memorable ON-J ballad Hopelesly Devoted To You  -- written by John Farrar of Marvin Welch and Farrar, and the Shadows -- and suddenly the Barry Gibb-penned title track is actually the least of the soundtrack.

But as to the film, it's just fun.

It's Happy Days with a whole lot more sex, American Graffiti without the messages. It skewers the cliches of the musical genre as much as those of Fifties rock'n'roll, doesn't even pretend that the actors should have been a decade younger to convincingly play high school students, has some decent set-piece dance sequences and best of all it . . .

It has Stockard Channing as the trashy but sassy Betty Rizzo (Channing more recently seen in The West Wng and The Good Wife but also one of the pivots of the superb Six Degrees of Separation in 'the mid Nineties).

She is worth the price of admission alone.

And that price is pretty damn cheap right now because the DVD of this not-so-guilty pleasure is just . . . Well, it is one of those available in a three for $20 deal at JB Hi-Fi stores here.

JB_logoOthers you can pick up include Boy (essential viewing I would have thought), family favorites like ET, Despicable Me, Avatar and The Croods, classics like The Birds and Saving Private Ryan, and popular things like Braveheart (if you must), Love Actually, Forrest Gump, Ice Age . . .

That's a good deal . . . but if you have kids at That Certain Age who ask "What does that mean?" then you might want to keep Grease back until after they've gone to bed. 

Then you can settle back and shamelessly enjoy it and say things like, "God, wasn't he so handsome back then?" 

Share It

Your Comments

Graham - Aug 17, 2015

I remember seeing the original stage production at the Drury Lane Theatre in Covent Garden, London, back in the late sixties. Many of the songs in the film were in the show which was fun but different. The seats were vertiginous, that I do remember!

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cilla Black; The Very Best of Cilla Black

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cilla Black; The Very Best of Cilla Black

Although in the last deacdes of her life she turned in to some weird Margaret Thatcher doppelganger (it was the new choppers as much as the hair, wasn't it?), no one could deny that when Cilla... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Little Feat; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Little Feat; Original Album Series (Rhino)

In a recent conversation with American guitarist David Becker -- who plays here next month -- he mentioned how the internet had made the whole of popular music history available to younger people.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

FRANK ZAPPA RESURRECTED (2016): The floorboards creak and out come the freaks

FRANK ZAPPA RESURRECTED (2016): The floorboards creak and out come the freaks

The importance and impact of some musicians far outstrips the sales of their albums or concert tickets. The late Frank Zappa – who died in '93 at just 52 – was one of those.... > Read more

GUEST WRITER ALEC MORGAN looks back at the car culture of Auckland's Queen St in the Seventies

GUEST WRITER ALEC MORGAN looks back at the car culture of Auckland's Queen St in the Seventies

Auckland’s Queen Street has long been a place for young people with wheels. In 1976 the cars would converge from mainly out West (Te Atatu, Henderson, Massey, Glen Eden, Blockhouse Bay),... > Read more