December 16th will mark the 38th anniversary of the iconic film “Saturday Night Fever”:
When John Travolta walked- well, rather, strutted- down that Brooklyn street, nothing would ever be the same. Overnight, music, film, and especially fashion, were suddenly turned upside down. The Bee Gees exploded across Billboard singles and albums charts, and to this day, the soundtrack still remains in the TOP 10 of the most successful albums in history; just behind Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
“Saturday Night Fever” was nominated for one Oscar: Best Actor, John Travolta. The film was also nominated for four Golden Globes, two BAFTAs and one WGA.
Mr. Travolta won Best Actor by the National Board of Review and the film was Listed as one of the best films of the year.
The soundtrack won two American Music Awards and Album of The Year by the Grammy’s.
In 2010, the National Film Preservation Board inducted SNF into its prestigious library.
“Saturday Night Fever” trivia: Did you know that the R-rated film version was the first Hollywood film to use the phrase “Blow job” in it? It’s true.
After the world-wide success of the ‘original release,’ the producers of the Robert Stigwood Organization decided to re-cut the film into a PG version for American audiences. This version completely sanitized the entire film and its cultural message. All strong language, nudity and sexual content were removed and edited out, leaving the ‘magic’ of the original film, well, D.O.A.
If you’ve seen both (and I can say I’ve had the pleasure of), then you know what a disappointment and travesty the PG version is. It leaves you with… what were they thinking?
The R-rated version was also a fascinating character study. An in depth look at the Italian culture of New York City and its celebration of family and life; both in music, dance and song. It’s raw, real and rich with power and impact. It also exposed the film audience to common derogatory slang used unabashedly: Nigger, faggot and spick are used in through-out.
John’s character, Tony Manero, and his buddies have a run-in with two gay men in Brooklyn. His buddies try to harass and assault them, but Tony has heart and tells his friends to “…be cool, leave’m alone.” This moment is severely edited in the PG version and leaves the audience not understanding the significance nor importance of the social statement made. A huge faux-pas for the studio.
Today, 2015, and almost 2016, the music from the SNF still lives on strongly everywhere you go. Dance clubs, restaurants, 70s & 80s dance nights, radio… you can’t get away from its magic. After nearly four decades, it’s still fun to dance and lose yourself to!
An important POP culture event happened on December 16, 1977:
“SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER”
Waide Riddle is an award-winning poet and writer. A majority of his literary works are archived at UCLA Library of Special Collections, Poets House/NYC, Simon Wiesenthal Center: Museum of Tolerance and USC LGBT Library.
He has 60 titles on Amazon Kindle and is a contributing writer to the NOHO Arts District News.
Waide is also an established indie filmmaker, with six short films to his credit. His latest venture, “The Web,” has been approved by the IFP/Independent Filmmaker Project for Fiscal Sponsorship. He is honored that his creative work is endorsed by such a respected Arts Charity of the ‘moving image.’
Interested possible Donors can find the film’s page by going to www.ifp.org or contacting Mr. Riddle directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.