Get down and dirty for Valentine’s Day
Two years ago, Fathom Events and Lionsgate scored a direct hit when they joined forces to re-release Dirty Dancing (1987) to the big screen to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
Such success does not go unnoticed, and once again Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey will bring their fancy footwork and romantic chemistry to theaters nationwide, including the Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, located in the Friendly Center in Greensboro.
Dirty Dancing returns – just in time for Valentine’s Day, with screenings this Sunday (Feb. 10) and next Wednesday (Feb. 13).
Set in the Catskills in the summer of 1963 and steeped in period nostalgia, Dirty Dancing details the relationship that develops between lonely teenager “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and resort dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), set to such chart-topping ‘60s standards as “Be My Baby,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
What proved surprisingly popular were the original songs created for the film: Swayze’s own “She’s Like the Wind,” Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” and the Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes duet “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” which won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Duet.
For those who remember those happy days of radio airplay in 1987, these tunes were absolutely, completely inescapable. (Indeed, some are still heard in regular rotation to this day!)
Despite its Catskills setting, the film was actually shot in Virginia (Mountain Lake) and right here in North Carolina (Lake Lure). The Mountain Lake Hotel still hosts “Dirty Dancing Weekends” on a regular basis, and since 2009 Lake Lure hosts an annual “Dirty Dancing Festival.”
Swayze and Grey had previously co-starred in the John Milius action opus Red Dawn (1984) and reportedly did not hit it off. Indeed, their off-screen relationship on Dirty Dancing was rumored to have had its ups and downs, yet screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein (who based the story in part on her own experiences as a teenager) felt this brought an added layer of tension to their characters.
Dirty Dancing also stars Jerry Orbach (the much-missed mainstay of “Law & Order”), Jack Weston (Wait Until Dark), Cynthia Rhodes (Flashdance), Kelly Bishop (Tony Award winner for A Chorus Line) and future “Seinfeld” favorite and Jurassic Park victim Wayne Knight in his first major screen role. Costing a mere $5 million, the film was an unexpected sleeper hit, grossing over $60 million in the United States and over $150 million worldwide. Its success boosted the careers of Swayze, Grey and first-time director Emile Ardolino (who later helmed the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg blockbuster Sister Act), and put fledgling independent studio Vestron Pictures on the map. (Three years later, Vestron Pictures was off the map – having declared bankruptcy and having produced no films comparably successful to Dirty Dancing.)
Since its release, Dirty Dancing has literally become a cottage industry, spawning a popular and award-winning stage musical, a live television version in 2017 (starring Colt Prattes as Johnny and Abigail Breslin as Baby), and a belated and and largely ignored 2004 prequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which featured a brief cameo by Swayze.
“Dirty Dancing is one of those really rare films that feels just as fresh and fun as it did the first time you saw it,” said Tom Lucas, vice-president of studio relations for Fathom Events, when the film was re-released in 2017. “As an ‘80s classic set in the ‘60s, it’s a double-dose of cinematic nostalgia, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Baby and Johnny back to the silver screen.”
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.