Tuesday, December 4, 2018

“Saturday Night Fever” is the December Film Classic in Bigfork

Saturday Night Fever” is the December Film Classic in Bigfork

The December film for this season’s “Classic” movies at the Edge is a 1977 movie that has held its popularity through the decades. The fact that it is not based on the work of an American is of little importance. It is an American “monster-sized” success. The story is from a 1976 article in the “New York” magazine by a British writer and based on British youth’s “mod” subculture. Nothing very American about any of that…right? It still has one of the best selling sound-tracks of all time, and the movie itself is part of the American Library of Congress selections being preserved as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” being picked in 2010.  This December Movie Classic will be shown at the Edge Theater in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. This is an "R" rated movie and not suitable for children. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday December 13th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: FREE of charge.

“Saturday Night Fever” is a great movie, has music, music and more music, graceful dancing, plenty of sex for its time, and racial tension mixed in. It was a very successful commercially impact movie with more “lives” than a cat, from its three release formats, best selling movie track music, VHS and CD releases and still familiar music The movie was originally released in an “R” rated form, then was also released in a PG” version, and even later as “PG-13” version in 1980. It did much to popularize the “disco” life-style and music, has wonderful graceful dancing, and America’s male media idol of the time, John Travolta. 

All the fuss is about a simple story of a young man who has a “dead-end” job, squabbling family, and a strange girlfriend. But when he gets on the dance-floor, he is king.  Disco music’s popularity owes a lot to this one star and one movie.

The movie’s one big star is John Travolta, but he does not have one of the best scenes in the movie. That goes to “Annette” played by Donna Pescow.  When the “boys” fall off the bridge into the river they fall onto a platform set up to safely “catch” them just out of sight of the camera. However that fact was kept from Pescow because the director wanted a true horror reaction when she thought they really fell into the water. He got the reaction he wanted -- horror --terrified look --- and fear, then anger when she found out the truth. Her next line in the movie was “you f___kers!” was also real and not scripted. Also unscripted but used was Travolta’s response to his father’s head slap at the dinner table about mussing up his hair.  So there is a wide range of interesting sidelights to enjoy. 

This is a good movie all around. And evidently a local Mafia group thought so too.  They reportedly tried to extort money from the film makers during shooting and even used a small “fire bomb” on the studio. Also a group of Hasidic Jews were against the film being shot in their neighborhood, and tried to disrupt the filming. They even tried to turn one over one of the cars used in production. Lots of critics, lots of challenges. But the end result is a great piece of film history. 

Come and see a film that will show you what has met the test of time and is still a good movie.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday 13th at 6:30PM. Rating: R. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. The Classic Movie Series is part of the District 318 Adult Education Program.

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