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Saturday Night Fever - Blu-ray DVD / drama DVD / action adventure DVD review
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Donna Pescow
Director: John Badham Studio: Paramount
DVD release: 05 May 2009 Runtime: 118 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French, Portugese), Commentary (dir. John Badham), '70s Discopedia, Catching The Fever, Back to Bay Ridge, Deleted scenes

Saturday Night Fever calls immediately to mind an image of John Travolta in his white suit with black shirt, back arched, right index finger pointed skyward, an image perhaps backed by any of the familiar Bee Gees songs used on the soundtrack. This glossy movie poster lured audiences in back in 1977, but there's so much more here. Even if you saw the movie thirty-two years ago, you might only have a faint recollection of the real story.

Set in Brooklyn circa 1977, Fever follows Tony Manero (John Travolta) and his frustrations at being a small fish in a big pond. During the week he works as a paint salesperson at a hardware store. You can tell he's good at this gig and has a way with the customers, but his heart isn't in it. Back at home, he's the middle child with no perceivable potential. His parents fairly worship his older brother, Frank Jr., who has become a priest, but when Tony earns a $4 raise it raises nary an eyebrow. Frank Jr. can do no wrong, Tony can do no right.

As a means of escape, Tony goes to 2001 Odyssey, the local discotheque, where he is king. Here Tony can clear the lighted dance floor with his killer moves. He's the Moses of the dance club, observes the sainted Father Frank Jr. Women want to dance with him just for the honor of having done so. Doreen (Denny Dillon), a fawning admirer with her hair done in an incredible flip, longs to dab the sweat from his brow just so she can have some of it to cherish.

When Frank Jr. (Martin Shakar) comes home and tells the family that he's left the priesthood, everyone is devastated - except Tony. This means that Frank Jr.'s pedestal has been lowered considerably, and perhaps Tony's parents won't see him as so much of a waste.

Tony's friends, who sport names like Bobby C. (Barry Miller), Joey (Joseph Cali) and Double J. (Paul Pape), all come out to the club with Tony. Although dressed to the nines with their gold chains, polyester shirts, and platform shoes, they don't have the skill on the dance floor that Tony does. Granted, Tony does spend hours at the local dance studio, but he makes it look effortless at Odyssey. They have the impression that Tony's got is life in order, but he's just as screwed up as any of them.

Annette (Donna Pescow) makes no secret about her love for Tony. Tony likes to dance with her because she's the best of the regulars at the disco. When she proposes that they get together for the big dance competition, he agrees with heavy caveats that this means no strings attached. It's just dancing, nothing more. She's happy just to have the attention. Later, Tony decides he'd rather dance with Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney). He's careless about Annette's feelings, but there's nothing personal; it's business. Tony will dance with the best dancer he can find. Stephanie has a broader palette than Annette, and she's more sophisticated. It doesn't hurt that she represents Tony's ideas of freedom from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She's got her foot in the door in Manhattan; she's made it over the bridge and shaken some of Brooklyn off of her shoes.

Saturday Night Fever has made the jump to Blu-ray beautifully with a picture so crisp and clear you'd hardly know that it's been this long since its release. Extra features include retrospective interviews with cast and creators. There's a trivia track that you can enable during the movie to refresh your memory on Fever-related items from the era. A few deleted scenes don't add much, but they're cool to see.

Saturday Night Fever is about so much more than disco. Yes, it breathed new life into disco, but it could have had a totally Eagles soundtrack and still held its own. If you're a fan, go Blu. You won't be disappointed (though you might want to draw the curtains before putting on the polyester leisure suit to dance along).
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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