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Saturday Night Fever (1977) - John Badham

Related: cliché - disco - dance - film - 1977 - New York

Saturday Night Fever (1977) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Today, disco is often celebrated for its camp and kitschy plasticness. But the pre-Saturday Night Fever dance underground was actually sweetly earnest and irony-free in its hippie-dippie positivity, as evinced by anthems like M.F.S.B.'s "Love Is the Message." And the scene's combination of overwhelming sound, trippy lighting, and hallucinogens was indebted to the late-'60s psychedelic culture. Mancuso still uses the Timothy Leary catchphrase "set and setting" to describe the art of creating the right vibe at parties. -- Simon Reynolds


Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 movie starring John Travolta as Tony Manero, a troubled Brooklyn youth whose weekend activities are dominated by visits to a New York discotheque. While in the disco, Tony is the king, and the visits help him to temporarily forget the reality of his life: a dead-end job, clashes with his unsupportive and squabbling parents, racial tensions in the local community, and his associations with a dead-beat gang of friends.

The movie significantly helped to popularise disco music around the world, and made Travolta a household name. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, featuring disco songs by the Bee Gees, was also hugely popular.

The film also showcased aspects of the music, the dancing, and the subculture surrounding the disco era: symphony-orchestrated melodies, haute-couture styles of clothing, and graceful choregraphy.

The story of the film is based upon a 1975 New York Magazine article by British writer Nik Cohn, Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night. In the late-1990s, Cohn acknowledged that the article had been completely fabricated. A newcomer to the United States and a stranger to the disco lifestyle, Cohn was unable to make any sense of the subculture he had been assigned to write about. The characters who were to become Tony Manero and his friends sprang solely from his imagination. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Fever [Jan 2006]

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