Grease (1978): Randall Kleiser Smash Hit Musical, Starring Travolta

Paramount (Robert Stigwood/Allan Carr Production)

One of the most successful transfers of a Broadway musical to the big screen, “Grease,” directed by Randall Kleiser, went on to become a cult movie performed in sing-along events at film festivals.
 
Set in the 1950s, the musical features winning performances from the two leads, John Tarvolta as Italo-American Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton-John as Sandy, the new, naïve girl in town who falls hard for him.
 
The movie was made right after Travolta appeared in the smash hit, “Saturday Night Fever,” and it catapulted Newton-John to international stardom.
 
But the real fun resides in watching the great supporting cast, which includes Stockard Channing, who was too old to play the part of Rizzo but brings much desired edge and energy, and a whole ensemble of old-timers and TV icons, such as singer Frankie Avalon, the incomparable acerbic Eve Arden, Edd Byrnes, Sid Caesar, and Dody Goodman.
 
The direction of this upbeat, feel-good nostalgic romp is uneven, but the music is tonic and the staging of some of dance routines is bright and sunny.
 
Oscar Nominations: 1
 
Song: “Hopelessly in Love With You,” music and lyrics by John Farrar.
 
Oscar Awards: None
 
Oscar Context:
 
The Oscar winner was Paul Jabara’s “Last Dance,” from the movie “Thank God It’s Friday.”