It was the year 1978, it was September and I was standing in a crowded cinema to see the premiere of “Grease”. Exactly forty — yes forty! — years have passed since then but still, when they occasionally make the film on TV, I don’t miss it.
“Grease”, directed by Randal Kleiser, based on a successful musical, tells the love story of Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton John), during the last year of high school at Rydell .
Nobody can forget the songs, from the overwhelming You’re the one that I want, to the romantic Hoplessly devoted to you, to the beautiful There are worse things I could do.
Who forgets John Travolta’s dancing walk, his blue eyes, his meowing voice? Who forgets the transformation of the naive Sandy into a sexy bomb? All of us, who were then seventeen, hoped to find a tough-hearted tough guy like Danny and turn us from ugly ducklings into bursting pin-ups.
But the character that stands out is not the insipid Sandy, but Rizzo, the shrewd friend, head of the Pink Ladies. With that changeable and expressive face, the roguish air, Elisabeth Taylor’s eyes, Stockard Channing remains impressed, and in my opinion it is her the best song, that There are worse things I could do.
The film is set in the 50s, with combs, glitter and Elvis tufts. It can be considered the progenitor of “school” films, with all the iconography of end-of-course dances, uncovered cars, drive-ins, teen bands, school radios, games and cheerleaders, who created the American youth myth, and made us dream a school where we spent time only organizing parties.
The mentality, however, is that of the 70s, with the struggle for female emancipation and sexual freedom. However, if Sandy apparently seems to turn into a modern and determined girl in the finale, that “Rizzo, I’ll make you an honest woman” immediately puts things right.