John Travolta solidified his position as the most versatile and magnetic screen presence of the decade in this film version of the smash hit play Grease. Recording star Olivia Newton-John made her American film debut as Sandy, Travolta's naive love interest. The impressive supporting cast reads like a "who's who" in this quintessential musical about the fabulous '50s. Grease is not just a nostalgic look at a simpler decade--it's an energetic and exciting musical homage to the age of rock 'n' roll!
was first released on DVD in 2002, Paramount threw a massive release party, reuniting the original cast and crew for a night of reminiscing and sing-alongs. It's that footage that makes up the majority of the Rockin' Rydell Edition's special features, and oh what special features they are. Watching Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta duet on "You're The One That I Want"--complete with dance moves and a live band--and bringing in the other T-Birds and Pink Ladies for "Summer Nights" is simply magic, even if most of them struggled to remember the words. The new edition, wrapped in a black leather T-Bird jacket, also includes a Rydell sing-along (go directly to your favorite numbers and karaoke your heart out) and features on everything from the cars of Grease
to the choreography (Poor Jeff Conaway: There's multiple references to the fact that he played Danny on Broadway, but got relegated to the role of Kenickie instead, only to see Kenickie's "Greased Lightning" number get handed to Travolta's Danny for the film.). There's also interviews with Newton-John and Travolta on the evening of the movie's premiere in 1978, before she would bust out with "Physical" (and uh, Xanadu
) and he would one day be a mega-movie star with his own plane.
The audio commentary, with director Randal Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch, is mostly a snoozefest other than two little gems: That actor Michael Biehn (The Terminator) and director Andy Tennant (Hitch) make appearances as a jock and dancer, respectively; and that the original hand jive had a "much raunchier title," according to Birch. The Rockin' Rydell edition is well worth the investment, at least until Travolta hobbles around in a leather jacket for the 50th anniversary reunion. -- Ellen A. Kim