Grease is a classic in the world of movie musicals. But now, so many years after it originally dropped, folk are rewatching it and they are not happy one bit.
Now Sandy herself, Olivia Newton-John, has spoken out ...
It's safe to say Grease is one of the biggest films of all time.
Though not all agree that it's stood the test of time. And now, Newton-John has been forced to address the backlash.
But first, let's take a look back on some huge Grease facts you might not know.
What's In a Name?
imdbJim Jacobs and Warren Casey wrote the original 1971 stage production, and the musical got its name from the 1950s penchant for greasy hair, greasy engines, and greasy food.
The Producer Could Party
GettyAllan Carr hosted "Rolodex parties" — inviting the A-L guest list one night, the M-Z one the next — and even held an event in an abandoned Los Angeles jail, according to Vanity Fair.
"The Fonz" Almost Played Danny Zuko
imdbParamount originally wanted Happy Days star Henry Winkler as the leading man, but the actor was worried about being typecast so he turned it down.
Carrie Fisher Was Almost Sandy
imdbDirector Randal Kleiser roomed with George Lucas in college and watched dailies of Star Wars to see if Carrie could be a fit. In the end, he went with Olivia Newton John, as everyone knows.
But Marie Osmond Was a Front-Runner
ImdbThe wholesome singer definitely suited the role, but Osmond, who was raised Mormon, objected to Sandy's bad girl transformation so she declined.
Lucille Ball Was Involved, As Well
GettyHer daughter Lucie Arnaz was the first choice for Rizzo, but Ball refused to let her audition for the troublemaker role. In other words, Lucy wasn't loving it.
Danny Was Almost as Busboy
ImdbAllan Carr also imagined the greaser working at a gas station, singing a song called "Gas Pump Jockey."
Sandy Wasn't Originally Australian
ImdbCarr picked country-singer Olivia Newton-John for the part after sitting across from her at a dinner party. The Melbourne native couldn't do an American accent, so they rewrote the part and changed Sandy's last name from "Dumbrowski" to "Olsson."
Jeff Conaway Was a Grease Alum
ImdbHe played the role of Danny Zuko on Broadway (along with Richard Gere and Patrick Swayze) but got the sidekick role of Kenickie in the film.
Age Is But a Number
Newton-John worried about the 7-year age gap between her and costar John Travolta, but the twenty-nine-year-old wasn't the oldest member of the cast.
Stockard Channing was thirty-three, and another Pink Lady, Jamie Donnelly (who played Jan), had premature gray hair.
There's a Bad Boy Tribute
GettyDanny's windbreaker at the beginning of the movie was a nod to James Dean's character in Rebel Without a Cause.
There's a creepy reference in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee."The play originally mentioned heartthrob Sal Mineo, but he was murdered in 1976. The writers then changed the lyrics to include Elvis, but the singer died the same day the scene was filmed. Talk about a weird coincidence.
Travolta Stole the Show...or at Least a Song
ImdbThe garage number belongs to Kenickie in the stage version — it is about his car, after all! But Travolta apparently wanted the solo and nabbed it for himself.
The T-Birds Had a Dorky Name
ImdbIn the play, the gang called themselves the "Burger Palace Boys" after their favorite diner hangout.
Is Elvis In the Building?
GettyHe was going to be a Teen Angel, but unfortunately, the King passed away during filming so the role went to Frankie Avalon.
"Beauty School Dropout" Almost Didn't Happen
Avalon had an intense fear of heights, so the slippery, 3-story staircase didn't seem so dreamy after all. They almost cut the number but ended up putting mattresses alongside the steps.
The Beach Boys Almost Had an Appearance
GettyCarr originally imagined the surf rock quartet doing "Greased Lightnin'."
The Hand Jive Wasn't Always Fun
The school dance took 2 weeks to film, and temperatures topped 100 degrees in the windowless gym. A couple of extras even came down with heat-related illnesses.
And actor Michael Tucci, who played T-Bird Sonny LaTierri, fainted and had to be taken to the E.R.
But the Carnival...
That was much easier.
The fair was only in town for the day, so most of the grand finale was shot in twenty-four hours. The director created reproductions of the rides to shoot more close-ups later on.
Those Iconic PantsSandy can thank Olivia for them, because the skintight leather leggings belonged to Olivia Newton-John — she actually had to be sewn into them when the zipper broke.
The Critics Hated the Movie
GettyThe Today show's Gene Shalit deemed it "visual junk food," the New Yorker called it a "klutzburger," and the New York Daily News's reviewer said it "should really be covered on the obituary page." Proof you should never listen to critics.
Shake Your Moneymaker
The best-selling soundtrack landed 4 songs in the Billboard Top 10 and the film grossed nearly $400 million.
It was the highest-grossing movie musical of all time until it Mamma Mia! in 2008.
But the Sequel? Not So Much.
Carr proposed a sequel called Summer School focusing on Kenickie and Rizzo's wedding. Instead, Grease 2 flipped the plot and starred Michelle Pfeiffer as the leader of the Pink Ladies.
The 1982 release had twice the budget of the original but totally flopped, earning only $15 million at the box office. Plans for a Grease franchise, including 3 more movies and a TV series, were put on hold.
You can't top the original.
tbh Grease is rapey and slut shaming and probably kinda homophobic and creepy but it was made in a different time w… https://t.co/GrKlB3NzdU— Emillou (@Emillou)1609702629.0
So long after Grease first landed, people are finding it offensive.
Taking to Twitter, one person wrote:
"The drive in/botched makeout session between Danny and Sandy hasn't aged well. Film kinda glides right into song (“Sandy") before viewers register the date rapey vibe of the scene they just saw. #Grease"
But that wasn’t the only comment.
@Otto_English I dunno about banning it but it certainly is rapey. "Did she put up a fight?" etc. I think they put w… https://t.co/kKZMi3nFw9— Brexit Festival........................Parody (@Brexit Festival........................Parody)1609708539.0
"Ahhh man. Just watching #Grease one of my favorite films and it's so of its time. Misogynistic, sexist, and a bit rapey."
But now, Grease star Olivia Newton-John has hit back.
"I think it's kind of silly. I mean, this movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s," she told A Life of Greatness podcast.
"It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun."
"It's a fun movie musical not to be taken so seriously."
"We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are."
"I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's a fun movie that entertains people."
So, there you have it. What do you think?
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