is here [in this book] not just because any large machine needs lubrication, nor even because of its stupefying success on stage and screen. It is here because I like it, and because it showed how camp attitudes could resurrect the good-natured ethos of old musicals and rearrange the universe so that being in high school was really equivalent to being in a musical....
"....The whole idea of a couple torn between being Elvis and Ann-Margret or Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee is what the film is about. And with all these silly role models knocking around, there's no need for real character. Sandy and Danny (the lead kids) are Barbie dolls, and we can change their clothes and songs to suit our mood....
"....Of course, the casting was crucial: John Travolta is Danny, and in Travolta the idea of a James Dean-like aggression or menace is a hoot. Danny is cuddly, gentle and cute; in turn, Olivia Newton-John's Sandy manages to be the safe sweetheart who puts on tight pants and foxy makeup. Their combined gestures toward sexiness are full of charm and sweetness and the essential coded promise of never needing to grow up...."
"....The supporting cast is full of jewels: Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo, Kelly Ward as Putzie, Jeff Conaway as Kenickie, Didi Conn as Frenchy, Eve Arden as Principal McGee, plus Frankie Avalon, Joan Blondell, Sid Caesar, and Edd Byrnes...."
-- David Thomson
"Have You Seen...? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films"
(post originally published August 26, 2013)