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Saturday Night Fever: 25th Anniversary Edition

The very last of the unblockbustery blockbusters, Saturday Night Fever (1977) is a brilliant slice-of-life studying the confusing period of young adulthood during which working class upstarts endure a turbulent conflict between their youthful hopes and tough realities. John Travolta commands the screen as Tony Manero, a strutting 19-year-old in blue collar Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who suffers a dead-end job in a paint store to afford the glamour of weekends at a swanky Manhattan disco, where he dominates the pulsating dance floor. His indefatigable confidence, silky moves, and dreamy good looks weaken the knees of all the women in his sight — except for Brooklynese expatriate Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney), who is awkwardly trying to recast herself as a Manhattan socialite. At first Tony is drawn to her dancing, but, while her pretenses annoy him, he also yearns to break out of the juvenile soap opera of his macho street life. Saturday Night Fever is neither sensationalized nor sugarcoated, and while a lot of the film's popularity is built around its superior soundtrack of disco classics, the movie is also deeply heartfelt, easily relatable, and, at times, raucously funny. Also with Julie Bovasso, Donna Pescow, Barry Miller and Fran Drescher. Paramount's 25th Anniversary Edition of Saturday Night Fever presents the film in a vibrant anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The disc includes a dry commentary from director Badham and three brief, mildly interesting deleted scenes. The best feature is a 30-minute edit of VH1's excellent Behind the Music special about the film's rough production and its explosive cultural significance. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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