FOOTAGE FETISHES: ROBERT STIGWOOD’S TRILOGY OF TERROR

Visible Stig(wood)mata

Robert Stigwood started veering away from the Hollywood musical in the mid-80s. The horrible failure of “Grease 2” (the film that unleashed Adrian Zmed upon an unsuspecting moviegoing public) and “Staying Alive” probably had something to do with this. “Staying Alive” makes “Battlefield Earth” look Oscar™-worthy by comparison, so it’s no surprise Stigwood bowed out of the limelight. With the exception of 1996’s “Evita” (based on a musical he also produced), Stigwood has since completely dropped out of Hollywood. Word is he’s sticking to musical theater, where audiences are perhaps a little more forgiving of bad costumes and blatantly ridiculous subject matter.

“Daredevil” aside, that is.

Stigwood’s films brought a lot of people joy in the late ‘70s, so for that I suppose we can’t completely describe them as “blights on the face of American cinema.” Even so, the man still has a lot to answer for: “Saturday Night Fever” propped up the disco phenomenon for another three years and made Travolta a star, while “Grease” took a shallow, if mostly harmless, musical and elevated it into an irritatingly omnipresent phenomenon. As for “Sgt. Pepper’s”…okay, I can’t really find anyone who admits to watching (let alone enjoying) “Sgt. Pepper’s.” Two out of three is pretty respectable from a karmic backlash perspective, though, and should earn Stigwood at least as much vilification as Jon Peters.

Or maybe not. “Caddyshack II” is tough to live down.

If Pete Vonder Haar bleeds, you can kill him…at FILM THREAT’S BACK TALK>>>.




Posted on October 23, 2003 in Features by

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