Hello to everyone who has been following this blog for many years - I'm still blogging, I'm just moving over to https://www.claireheffer.com/blog - please continue to follow and let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been kind enough to visit over the years. May the lists continue...

Sunday 3 February 2019



TRIVIA: The movie was originally called "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", the title of the New York Magazine article that inspired it. The film's title was ultimately shortened to "Saturday Night", as a direct reference to the fact that Tony (John Travolta) and his friends inhabited 2001 Odyssey on Saturday nights. However, when The Bee Gees submitted the soundtrack, one of the songs, "Night Fever", was thought to embody the film's spirit better than the original. Director John Badham added the word "Saturday" and it replaced the original title.

John Travolta ran two miles a day and danced for three hours daily to get in shape for this film. In the end, he dropped 20 pounds.

When Tony's dad hit him in the back of the head the third time during dinner, his retort of "Just watch the hair!" and then his complaint about being hit on the hair after he had worked on it for so long was John Travolta's own reaction and not scripted, but since it was so in character for Tony Manero to say, it was left in.

John Travolta had worked hard on the "You Should Be Dancing" sequence and threatened to quit the film when the studio suggested it should be shot in close up instead of full-body.

The white polyester suit worn by John Travolta sold at auction for $145,000 and purchased by movie critic Gene Siskel. Siskel often said that this was his favorite film and that he had watched it 17 times.

According to the DVD commentary, John Travolta used two suits in the climax of the film, he had to switch suits between takes because one would become heavily soaked with sweat and had to be dried while he was wearing the other one for subsequent takes.

John Travolta's sister Ann Travolta appears as the pizza lady, and his mother Helen Travolta appears as the woman for whom he gets the paint.

This was the first mainstream Hollywood movie in which the term "blow job" was used. Interestingly, John Travolta had previously starred in Carrie (1976), which features a scene of him receiving one.

When they shot the first bridge scene, director John Badham kept secret from Donna Pescow the fact that when the guys "fell off" the bridge, they actually landed on a platform a few feet below. Badham and the other actors did not tell her about the platform because they wanted a genuine look of horror and anger on Annette's face when Tony, Double J. and Joey appeared to fall off. Therefore, Donna's reaction to them falling, and her facial expressions turning from horror and shock to outright anger, were real, and her next line, "You fuckers!", was not scripted.

The soundtrack album sold over 20 million copies, and it was the top selling album in history until it was topped by Michael Jackson's album "Thriller" six years later.

In Tony (John Travolta)'s bedroom, there's a poster for Rocky (1976), a film directed by John G. Avildsen. The sequel to this film, Staying Alive (1983), was written and directed by the star of Rocky, Sylvester Stallone. In fact, Avildsen was the original director of this film but was fired by producer Robert Stigwood shortly before principal photography began due to "creative differences". John Badham was approached to fill in at the last minute. Tony also has a poster for Serpico (1973) on his wall. Avildsen was originally considered to direct that film as well, but left the project due to "creative differences". 

Norman Wexler's screenplay was adapted from the "non-fiction" magazine article written by Nik Cohn. Years later, Cohn admitted that the story, supposedly a fact-based account detailing the lives of Brooklyn teenagers in the early days of the disco craze, was a complete fabrication.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, "maneiro" is a widely-used word, meaning "cool", taken from the character name, Tony Manero.

The film had the best-selling film soundtrack until The Bodyguard (1992).

Filming was frequently halted on the streets of New York City because teenage girl fans of John Travolta would scream when they saw him due to his popularity from the ABC sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975).

Actress Nina Hansen, who played the grandmother in the film,improvised all her lines in the dinner table scene. Originally not given any speaking parts,this didn't sit well with her and according to director John Badham,she decided to utter "Basta! Mangia! Mangia! ,which translates to English as "Enough! Eat!Eat!" He decided to leave it in the final cut.

John Travolta has said in interviews that he thought this was a retro/nostalgia type spoof of the disco craze. He said most of his friends assumed the disco craze was from 1974 until about 1976 when it ended. He assumed this movie was supposed to be a humorous look back at the craze after it was over. He said once the movie came out that kind of reignited the craze again. He said "the movie came out, and it was if it was all starting for the first time again, as if it all had never happened. "

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

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