Study Guide

Grease Production Design

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Production Design

From the Stage to the Streets

Grease the movie is no longer a Broadway show. They're not confined to the stage. So the filmmakers wanted to make the production pop. We imagine the conversation went something like this:

Executive 1: A musical? What's that?

Executive 2: Girls singing about boys? Boys singing about girls?

Executive 1: That doesn't sound very masculine. We need more explosions!

Executive 2: How about a car chase?

Executive 1: Great idea! It could be like Ben Hur, but instead of sweaty shirtless gladiators battling it out, we have fit young men in tight black shirts.

Executive 2: Amazing, sir! That's very masculine.

And so the car chase in Grease was born. It added some action and pizazz to the musical and maybe helped attract a larger audience? We're not sure. The Grease Live! TV musical would later attempt to blend stage and screen by adding in songs cut from the play and still attempting the blistering car chase. (Source)

The starting line of the race is under the 6th Street Bridge in downtown L.A., and the rest of the movie was filmed on location around Southern California, too. (Source)

Everything came together thanks to the magic touch of editor John F. Burnett who also worked on Grease 2 (1982) and Can't Stop the Music (1980). (Source)

Okay, both those films bombed hard, so maybe Burnett's touch isn't as magic as we're giving him credit for. Regardless of his failures, Grease is a success thanks to him and everyone involved.

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