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‘Grease’ marks 40 years of T-Birds, Pink Ladies and ‘Summer Nights’

May 17, 2018 GMT

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on the “40th Anniversary Edition” of “Grease,” which is rated PG.

The movie “Grease” was released in 1978, and there is a “40th Anniversary Edition” available, which offers the film on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy.

Set in the 1950s, “Grease” stars Olivia Newton-John as the kind-hearted Sandy and John Travolta as Danny, leader of The T-Birds at Rydell High. Danny and Sandy meet over the summer, but they think their romance is over when Sandy believes she has to return to Australia. When they meet again as high school seniors at a pep rally and bonfire, Danny is excited to

see Sandy at first until he realizes that he doesn’t look cool in front of all of his friends. His friends include the members of The Pink Ladies, led by Rizzo (Stockard Channing).

One of my favorite characters is Frenchy (played by Didi Conn), a Pink Lady who befriends Sandy and brings her into her circle of friends. Frenchy briefly quits high school in hopes of becoming a beautician, but realizes the importance of earning her diploma thanks to Frankie Avalon and the song “Beauty School Dropout.”

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This musical love story features several familiar songs, including “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and the No. 1 duet between Newton-John and Travolta titled “You’re the One That I Want.” One of the special features on this “40th Anniversary Edition” allows viewers to sing along to the songs with the lyrics appearing on the screen.

The high school students in “Grease” engage in several inappropriate activities — including drag racing, drinking, smoking, fooling around in parked cars and harassing classmates. Another special feature, which runs about 20 minutes, is titled “Grease: A Chicago Story” and explains the inspiration for the story and characters and how they were actually toned down for the movie from the original play version that debuted in Chicago.

“Grease,” which often airs on television, and the movie’s soundtrack are certainly popular, and fans of the movie and its music may want to check out this “40th Anniversary Edition.”

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.