‘Saturday Night Fever’ tonight
OK, John Travolta fans.
It’s disco time as the Churchill Arts Council returns to the era of “dancing all night long.”
“Saturday Night Fever” concludes the three-movie fall series tonight with one of the most acclaimed dance classics of the past four decades.
The movie begins at 7 p.m. in the Oats Park Arts Center’s Barkley Theater. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $7 for members or $10 for nonmembers.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the movie which transformed Travolta from the smart-aleck student in the mid-1970s television sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” to the dance king. Additionally, the Bee Gees re-invented themselves to become “the band” of the disco age. Their songs from the hit movie are still popular today with new generations enthralled with the disco age.
In the movie, Tony Manero (John Travolta) lives a mundane life during the weekdays. He lives at home and works as a paint store clerk in his Brooklyn neighborhood, yet he lives for the weekend, when he and his friends go to the local disco and dance the night away.
When a big dance competition is announced, he persuades Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to be his partner. As the two train for the big night, they also begin to fall in love with each other.
The film showcased aspects of the music, the dancing, and the subculture surrounding the disco era of symphony-orchestrated melodies, trendy clothing and flawless choreography. The 1983 sequel of “Staying Alive” also starred Travolta but received less positive reception. The Library of Congress announced in 2010 that “Saturday Night Fever” was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” in its selection for preservation in the National Film Registry.
“‘Saturday Night Fever’ was Gene Siskel’s favorite movie, and he watched it at least 17 times,” said fellow movie critic Roger Ebert. “We all have movies like that, titles that transcend ordinary categories of good and bad, and penetrate straight to our hearts. My own short list would include ‘La Dolce Vita,’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘The Third Man.’ These are movies that represent what I yearned for at one time in my life, and to see them again is like listening to a song that was popular the first summer you were in love.
“Although ‘Saturday Night Fever’ appealed to him primarily on an emotional level, Siskel spoke about it in terms of its themes, and there are two central ones. First, the desire of all young people to escape from a life sentence of boring work and attain their version of the beckoning towers of Manhattan. Second, the difficulty that some men have in relating to women as comrades and friends and not simply sex facilitators.”