Thursday, November 02, 2006

Breakdown - Grease



(Another superb job, Miriam. For those of you who may not be familiar, Miriam Paschal does these amazing movie breakdowns. You can get the complete list here. Why a musical? You never know how this may come in handy one day...)


Grease

1- 1:23 – As "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" plays on the soundtrack, Sandy tells Danny that she has to go back to Australia. "Is this the end?" she asks. "No," he says, "it's the beginning." 001:23

2- 3:17 – Title sequence with title song GREASE. Introduces the actors and shows a bit of the personality of the characters they play. 004:40

3- 1:42 – Fade to the school. Starts off with the T-birds. Kenickie is Danny's "lieutenant" and their three sidekicks are Doody, Sonny, and Putzie. Danny mentions the beach. The final shot of this scene introduces the next. 006:22

4- 0:24 – Sandy tells Frenchy she's no stranger to heartbreak. 006:46

5- 0:37 – Introduces Rizzo and the other two Pink Ladies, Jan and Marty. Riz says, "We're gonna rule the school." 007:23

6- 1:05 – Introduces the Dean, her inept secretary Blanche, and the shop teacher. This scene is intercut with shots of the school halls. 008:28

7- 1:12 – Explores the T-birds some more. Sonny says he won't take any of the Dean's crap this year and then proceeds to do exactly that. Danny ribs him to confirm his dominance of the group. 009:40

8- 1:17 – Announcements. These serve as transitions throughout. Sandy is late to class, the Dean extols the students to be athletic supporters, and the dance contest is announced. 010:57

9- 2:03 – This is intercut with the next scene and sets up the first musical number. Sandy meets Riz and the Pink Ladies and tells them about the amazing boy she met over the summer. 013:00

10- 1:09 – While Sandy tells the girls how sweet her guy was, Danny tells the guys how hot his chick was. 014:09

11- 3:34 – First song SUMMER NIGHTS. 017:43

12- 0:40 – Riz finds out that Sandy's "sweet" boy is Danny. Her reaction makes it obvious that she's going to use this against both of them. 018:23

13- 2:18 – The bonfire to celebrate coming back to school and the high hopes for the football team. Sandy flirts with a football player. The final shot is a crane shot that transitions to the next scene. 020:41

14- 1:09 – Kenickie shows up in his new car, which needs a LOT of work. The leader of the Scorpions (the rivals of the T-birds) shows up with his "ho." 021:50

15- 2:49 – Riz puts Sandy and Danny together as some kind of revenge on Danny. He is forced to treat her bad so as not to look bad in front of his gang and Sandy is heart-broken. 024:39

16- 3:29 – Sleepover at Frenchy's. Jan sings the toothpaste song, the girls try to get Sandy to drink wine and smoke, but it backfires when Sandy gets sick. 028:08

17- 1:43 – Second song LOOK AT ME, I'M SANDRA DEE. 029:51

18- 1:39 – Intercut between the bedroom and outside the house. The T-birds show up and Riz leaves with them. Danny decides to walk home. 031:30

19- 1:14 – Another intercut scene. Marty gives Sandy some paper to write a note to Danny and Riz send the T-birds away so she can be with Kenickie. 032:44

20- 2:57 – Third song HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU. Designed to be a big hit because it featured Olivia Newton John. 035:41

21- 2:08 – Riz and Kenickie make out at Lover's Lane. The rubber breaks, but they decide to go ahead without it. The "Scorpion King" shows up with his "ho" and challenges Kenickie. 037:49

22- 0:44 – Intro to song. Danny defends Kenickie and his car. 038:33

23- 3:04 – Fourth song GREASED LIGHTNING. This song is distinguished by its filthy lyrics and some tasteless moves during the accompanying dance. 041:37

24- 0:30 – Set-up scene with Danny and Kenickie outside the Frosty Palace. It adds to the development of the rivalry between the "Scorpion King" and Kenickie and establishes that Danny is still thinking about Sandy. 042:07

25- 2:39 – Danny sees Sandy with the football player and joins her at the jukebox where she cuts him off cold. Some noteworthy dialogue in this scene: "Bite the weeny, Riz" / "With relish." Sandy praises her football player and Danny claims that he can "run circles around those jerks." Could the writers have deliberately created this double entendre? 044:46

26- 3:59 – This section is sort of a montage. It's a series of short, related scenes with dialogue that alternate between INT and EXT. Danny declares his intention to join a sport (INT), then tries out for basketball (EXT), wrestling (INT), and finally baseball (EXT). At the end he decides to try track. 048:45

27- 1:12 – Danny shows off for Sandy on the track, but hurts himself instead. He manages to capture her sympathy, and then her interest. 049:57

28- 5:19 – Danny and Sandy go to the Frosty Palace, where their friends join them. Frenchy is hiding under a bright orange scarf. This scene establishes that, although Danny and Sandy like each other, they are incompatible and Danny is embarrassed by her "good-girl" attitude. Riz is in a bad mood and breaks up with Kenickie. 055:16

29- 4:03 – Fifth song BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUT. This song features Frankie Avalon and some more questionable lyrics. This song broke him out of his wholesome image. 059:19

30- 0:16 – This extremely short scene was filmed in one shot and contains some very complicated blocking and dialogue delivery. I spotted at least five places where either the blocking or the dialogue could have been screwed up and probably was on other takes. It's not really necessary to the story, but they probably left it in because it was so difficult to set up. 059:35

31- 1:12 – This sets up complications in Riz and Kenickie's relationship, which is a parallel to Danny and Sandy's. Riz drags Marty off to join the "Scorpion King" in his hot rod and Kenickie brags that he'll have the hottest date at the dance. 060:47.

32- 7:42 – First half of the dance. It was hard to time this section. It's actually several smaller scenes, but they flow together with masking camera shots. I broke it up at the beginning of the dance contest. In the first half Riz shows up with the "Scorpion King" and Kenickie shows up with the "ho," Cha-Cha DiGregorio. 068:29

33- 9:14 – The dance contest and the sixth song BORN TO HAND JIVE. Riz and the "Scorpion King" are disqualified for vulgar moves and Riz stalks off in anger. Cha-Cha and Kenickie are disqualified and Cha-Cha convinces some guys to help her displace Sandy as Danny's partner. Danny doesn't notice until it's too late, but he wants to win the contest and he has danced with Cha-Cha before. Sandy follow Riz in stomping off in anger. This scene ends when the T-birds moon America. 077:43

34- 0:27 – The Dean threatens to "expose" the mooners. This is a transition scene. 078:10

35- 4:48 – Further complications for both couples. Danny wants to make out with Sandy, who tells him she's not that kind of girl and Riz confesses to Marty that she skipped a period. Kenickie hears about it and tries to apologize, but she tells him it might not even be his. 082:58

36- 2:31 – Seventh song SANDY. After Sandy slams the door on him, Danny wanders down to the playground at the front of the drive-in (how many people remember those?!) and sings his heartache on the swings. In the background, the animated commercial for snacks plays on the screen. It ends the song with a dancing hot dog doing tricks to try to get inside a bun. It's both poignant as a symbol of Sandy and Danny's relationship and funny because it's a visual double entendre. 085:29

37- 1:46 – Greased Lightning (Kenickie's car) is ready for the big race against the "Scorpion King" and Kenickie asks Danny to be his second. It's a tender moment between the two friends. 087:15

38- 3:01 – Intro to and eighth song THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO. Riz doesn't regret the actions that led to her possible pregnancy and ostracism. 090:16

39- 6:58 – Another scene that I couldn't break down into its sections because of moving shots that mask the transitions. This is the big race for pink slips down in the Los Angeles river (how many people know what that is?). Kenickie gets knocked out right before the race and Danny must drive Greased Lightning. Sandy watches from afar, but is afraid to join the group. At the end she asks Frenchy help her. 097:14

40- 0:58 – Another announcement used as a transition. The Dean and Blanche are sad to see the kids leave. 098:12

41- 2:49 – The school hires a carnival to celebrate graduation (this is the fifties, when they had that kind of money). Danny shows off his letterman's sweater, which he won to impress Sandy and prove to her that he can run circles around those jerks. 101:01

42- 3:20 – Ninth song YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT. While Danny tries to prove that he can be "good," Sandy finds her "bad" side and shows up in skin-tight, black leather with ratted hair and a cigarette. 104:21

43- 0:15 – A bookend to the first scene when Sandy asks if it's the end. They swear they'll all keep in touch after graduation. 104:36

44- 3:17 – Tenth song THOSE MAGIC CHANGES. Kenickie asks Riz to marry him and she says she's not pregnant. He says he wants to marry her anyway and they all break into song and dance. Danny and Sandy drive off into the sunset (literally) in Greased Lightning.


There are 44 major scenes that average 2 minutes and 27 seconds in length. Six of them are over 4 minutes long and nine of them are less than a minute long. These nine serve as transitional sections in the story. The remaining 39 are between 1 minute long and 3 minutes and 59 seconds long.

The midpoint in terms of the story seems to happen in the Frosty Palace when Sandy tells Danny he's not as good as the football player and he decides to go out for track. This actually occurs a few minutes before the halfway point in terms of time. The first act ends when Riz arranges for Sandy and Danny to see each other, and the Dark Night of the Soul happens at the drive-in for both couples and continues through to Riz's song of self-analysis, THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO.

There is the classic show-down between the main protag and the antagonist at the beginning of the third act at Thunder Road, the big race for pink slips, and everything is resolved at the end.

3 comments:

GameArs said...

As fun and innocent as this film is, there's a clear and strong structure underneath it all.

Thnks Miriam!

Mim said...

I loved it back in High School and really got to know it when one of the other film students made a 30 minute spoof of it called "Junior High School" with 13 year-olds.

There's a lot of underlying sexuality represented by the constant visual jokes and double entendres. I think this was deliberate because it represented both the time period (1950's) and what it's like to be a teenager.

I've always loved the little hot dog doing his tricks to get inside the bun while she makes him do it again until he gets it right.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. Thank you. They are really great .
Some new style Puma Cat shoes is in fashion this year.
The Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .
Nike Air Rift is good and Cheap Nike Shoes.
If you are a fans of Puma basket,we would offer the good and Cheap Puma Shoes for you .the cheap ugg bootsis best christmas gift now.
The information age is really convenient .