Wednesday, May 24, 2017 ABC aired a 3-hour (including commercials) remake by Lionsgate of the 1987 low-budget hit “Dirty Dancing”, originally directed by Emile Ardolino and released by Vestron and Artisan (which Lionsgate bought), the new version by Wayne Blair. The remake was probably facilitated legally by Lionsgate’s ownership of some of the original materials.
The original low-budget film had been a surprise hit. The new version is set up as a musical, of sorts, with all the popular songs (like “The Time of My Life”) played, providing some of the lilt of 80s disco music.
The plot is actually rather intricate. The film is set in 1963 at a resort, the Sheldrake, in the Catskills (the new film was shot largely in North Carolina and Virginia, especially near Blacksburg). “Baby” (Abigail Breslin), son of a doctor (Bruce Greenwood) visits the resort and gradually falls in love with the working class dance instructor Johnny Castle (Cold Prattes). There are tensions between Johnny and some of the other Ivy League young men at the resort (this is pre-assassination, pre-Vietnam Kennedy era). There are some racial tensions with an African American dancer. And there are a couple of long subplots involving Baby’s borrowing money from her dad for a friend Penny (Nicole Scherzinger) to have an abortion when Colt’s rival Robbie (Shane Harper) knocks Penny up; the abortion is botched (as often happened in those days, when “the abortionist” would be portrayed as a common criminal on the TV show “The D.A.’s Man”). Later Colt gets falsely accused of petty theft.
The “dirty dancing” style is perhaps more curious in gay discos, where gradual unmasking happens. In the movie, Colt is usually attired with a completely open shirt, with only a little chest hair, rather derivative of John Travolta in “Staying Alive” (1985).
Author Ryan Field has a gay novel from Riverdale Publishing based on the title.
Patrock Swayze had played Colt in the 1987 film. Swayze would die after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer, a much more resilient survival than for most. Jack Andraka’s book “Breakthrough” describes had a teen discovered a possible early detection test for pancreatic cancer.
I recall visiting a similar resort in the Adirondacks, at Lake Placid, as a child on a summer trip with my parents, where dinner was announced with a gong.
|Director, writer:||Wayne Blair|
|Released:||2017, remake of 1987|
|When and how viewed:||ABC Network 2017/5/24|
|Companies:||Lionsgate, ABC Studios|
(Posted: Friday, May 25, 2017 at 3:15 PM EDT)