Saturday Night Fever is usually reduced to a scene shortly before the half-hour mark, in which John Travolta — smothered in polyester and Brooklyn bravado — swaggers onto a crowded nightclub dance floor just as it turns into a mesmerizing, Bee Gees-decreed swell of body movement. It’s a dreamlike moment of synchronization, but there’s more to John Badham’s downbeat take on city living than flashback-inducing footwork.
As Tony Manero, an outer-borough ladies’ man who begins to question what lies on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, Travolta melds brute machismo and hidden yearning; it’s little surprise ”Fever” made him a superstar and earned him an Oscar nomination. This DVD update features an excerpt from a typically breezy ”Behind the Music” episode spotlighting the film and a minutiae-heavy commentary by Badham. The director has a darn good memory a quarter century later — but did we really need to learn about how more than a few of the actresses came down with cold sores?