Saturday Night Fever [Blu-ray]
(John Badham, 1977)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO) / Paramount Pictures
Video: Paramount Home Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,291,656,524 bytes
Feature Size: 32,519,098,368 bytes
Average Bitrate: 36.42 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 5th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3389 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3389 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUBs: Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none
• Commentary bydirector John Badham
Catching the Fever (Play All function)
• A 30-Year Legacy (15:24 in HD!)
• Making Soundtrack History (12:26 in HD!)
• Platforms and Polyester (10:36 in HD!)
• Deejays and Disco (10:18 in HD!)
• Spotlight on Travolta (3:36 in HD!)
• Back to Bay Ridge (9:01 in HD!)
• Dance like Travolta with John Cassese (9:49 in HD!)
• Fever Challenge (4:01 in HD!)
• 70's Discopedia (Pop-ups with film)
• Three Deleted Scenes (3:36)
Description: Saturday Night Fever is one of those movies that comes along and seems to change the cultural temperature in a flash. After the movie's release in 1977, disco ruled the dance floors, and a blow-dried member of a TV-sitcom ensemble became the hottest star in the U.S. For all that, the story is conventional: a 19-year-old Italian American from Brooklyn, Tony Manero (John Travolta), works in a humble paint store and lives with his family. After dark, he becomes the polyester-clad stallion of the local nightclub; Tony's brother, a priest, observes that when Tony hits the dance floor, the crowd parts like the Red Sea before Moses. Director John Badham captures the electric connection between music and dance, and also the desperation that lies beneath Tony's ambitions to break out of his limited world. The soundtrack, which spawned a massively successful album, is dominated by the disco classics of the Bee Gees, including "Staying Alive" (Travolta's theme during the strutting opening) and "Night Fever." The Oscar®-nominated Travolta, plucked from the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter, for his first starring role, is incandescent and unbelievably confident, and his dancing is terrific. Oh, and the white suit rules. - from Robert Horton Amazon.com HERE
"Saturday Night Fever" is an especially hard-edged case and a very good movie. It's about a bunch of Brooklyn kids who aren't exactly delinquents but are fearsomely tough and cynical and raise a lot of hell on Saturday nights. They live for Saturday night, in fact: They hang their gold chains around their necks and put on the new shirts they bought with their Friday paychecks, and they head for a place called 2001 Odyssey, and they take pills and drink and, as Leo Sayer put it, dance the night away. Occasionally they go out to the parking lot for a session in the back seat with a girl.
John Travolta is the center of the crowd: He's Tony Manero, the best
dancer, the best looker, the guy with the most confidence. His life is
just as screwed up as everyone else's, but they don't know that, and
they tell him: "You know somethin', Tony? You always seem to be in
Firstly, despite some reservations - this is a fabulous film experience in hi-def - wow. I believe it was announced on the now defunct HD-DVD format by Paramount but never surfaced but is officially now on Blu-ray.
Firstly, to get the bad out of the way, there are edge-enhancement halos (see HERE) visible, very sparingly, in this release. The very few scenes that I noticed it were not the most memorable/important of the film and I question the need to have intensified the detail at those particular moments, but - in no way - did it deter my total enjoyment of this film in 1080P. This Blu-ray produces visuals that has a realistic feel - the grittiness exists, but it is cleaner, brighter and sharper. Skin-tones and contrast are superb (some nighttime blacks are crushed) and there is a bit of subtle grain. It fills the 1.78 frame and the feature itself is over 30 Gig on the dual-layered Blu-ray disc. The bitrate is solid in the mid-to-high 30's. This looked better than a 30-year old film should and it maintains much of the cinematic essence. While I can't give it a perfect score - my reaction to the film in motion was as energetic as the dancing. Most fans won't be disappointed at all.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at 3389 kbps supports the film to a whole new level of appreciation. I wouldn't say the range is overwhelming but the crispness of the 'iconic disco' music with tracks like "Staying Alive", "Night Fever", "Disco Inferno", "If I Can't Have You", "More Than A Woman" and "How Deep Is Your Love", among many others, sounding tight and pure. It's akin to SACD to my ears. The music in this film can be such an important part of a viewing and this mix doesn't disappoint. I suppose it could have more depth but remember that the film is more than a 30-year old production. I appreciated the way it spread throughout the room and it was pretty hard not to pump the volume at times. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu tells me this release is region-free!
The supplements are quite good despite the conspicuous absence of Travolta. Badham's 2.0 channel commentary is mixed quite well around the music and while he has some information to impart - mostly about production - it doesn't seem as though he is overly prepared - it's laid back with some amusing anecdotes, some stuff about Travolta and is worth a listen if you are keen on the film. There are about an hour's worth of HD featurettes divided up with mostly the same participants chiming in from Stigwood, some of the cast (Gorney, Pescow, Cali, Coppola, Miller etc.) - even Barry Gibb. It's a bit of reminiscence but I think that's okay too. There are 3 deleted scenes that were probably on the last DVD release. The Blu-ray unique feature has a 70's Discopedia track running, optionally, with the film with pop-up trivia on characters and details etc. . I suppose fans could have wanted more supplements but it seemed to fill my expectations - despite being left itchy for more of Travolta input.
April 28th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze
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