Favorite

Disco Fever 

New documentary examines the wild world of New York’s Studio 54

The legendary '70s club, owned by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, gets its own documentary and, unsurprisingly, there are many interesting stories to tell about the club where all the stars played.

Director Matt Tyrnauer has scored the ultimate interview with surviving owner Schrager, who sits down to discuss his '70s adventures with the late Rubell, who died in 1989. Those adventures included movie stars, musicians, models, problems with liquor licenses and taxes and, of course, mountains of cocaine.

Rubell has a presence through archival footage, a character not unlike Joel Grey's emcee from Cabaret. The man (played by Mike Myers in the so-so 1998 film 54) was the ultimate entertainer, willing to do anything to make all evenings memorable. He and Schrager managed to get themselves into heaps of trouble during their run, including a jail stint for tax evasion.

There's interview footage of a young, excited, and glorious Michael Jackson standing next to Rubell, with Jackson trumpeting his joys for the venue. It's a moment that truly signifies a bygone era, two entertainment giants who died way too young, standing together and ready to party. The likes of Andy Warhol, Liza Minelli, Mick Jagger and others make archived appearances.

The film goes into detail of how the club worked. You couldn't just walk in the door; Rubell had a strict and relatively random admittance policy. Basically, if he didn't like your shirt, you didn't get in. He also had a lot of party favors in his big, puffy jacket.

Schrager is quite revelatory in his interviews, admitting that it's time to talk about the crazed discotheque that got him his start. He's now a real estate developer and, along with Rubell before he passed, helped create the first Boutique Hotels. He's a mild mannered man, everything that Rubell wasn't. He's also a fascinating subject in a fascinating documentary.

More by Bob Grimm

  • All in the Family

    Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is a moving look at a nanny’s sacrifices
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Road Show

    Green Book is an OK movie but it should have aimed higher
    • Dec 6, 2018
  • True West

    The Coen Brothers go to Netflix with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
    • Nov 29, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Girl Power

    It takes an Amazon to rescue DC Comic’s lackluster movie universe
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • Ghosts of Christmas

    Charles Dickens wrestles with the spirits of the season
    • Nov 30, 2017

The Range

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Tuesday, Dec. 18

New Year's Party Preview

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Monday, Dec. 17

More »

Latest in Cinema Feature

Facebook Activity

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation