Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Christopher|
|Produced by||Ira Deutchman|
Richard N. Gladstein
|Written by||Mark Christopher|
|Narrated by||Ryan Philippe|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Lee Percy|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
105 minutes (Director's cut)
|Box office||$16.8 million|
54 is a 1998 American drama film about Studio 54, a world-famous New York City discotheque, written and directed by Mark Christopher. It stars Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, and Mike Myers as Steve Rubell, the club's co-founder. Prior to its release in 1998, the film was extensively reshot and recut, and then released to poor critical reaction, but somewhat respectable box office. In 2008, a bootleg version of the director's cut was screened at Outfest, leading to interest for its release. In 2015, Christopher and Miramax premiered a new edit of the film at the Berlin International Film Festival, with 45 minutes of original material restored and 30 minutes of studio re-shoots removed.
Shane O'Shea is a young Jersey City man in the late 1970s, handsome enough to eventually become a bartender at Studio 54. He leaves behind his small-town life in New Jersey to come to New York City and be part of the hip scene. Shane comes to Studio 54, gaining admittance by officially taking off his uncool small-town shirt. There, he befriends aspiring singer Anita and her husband, Greg Randazzo. Things between Shane, Anita and Greg develop into a love triangle and inevitably fall apart. Shane begins a real relationship with soap-opera actress Julie Black.
Shane gets sucked into the hard-partying scene at Studio 54; as his life spirals downward, so does the club. The beloved Disco Dottie dies one night, and Shane is upset and refuses to continue. Shane is fired and bounced from the nightclub in disgrace. Moments later, the FBI raids the club and arrests owner Steve Rubell for tax evasion. Shane and Julie break up, but decide to remain friends.
Shane, Greg and Anita drift apart as their lives go in different directions. Years later, the three get together and go to the recently reopened Studio 54, where Rubell is hosting again for one night. They are glad to see him, but notice that he appears frail and sick. In his narration, Shane reveals that Rubell died soon afterward, and they all realized that “the party was over”.
Differences with the director's cut
In the director's cut, Shane has affairs with both Julie and Anita. He also sees more women than merely Julie. One night when Greg is willing to allow Rubell to perform fellatio on him, Rubell remarks he watched Shane and Anita both have sex. Much of the homosexual romance that occurred is seen. Greg feels betrayed and attacks Shane in a fist fight. Shane is seen indulging in Steve's philosophy of open bisexuality on several occasions. He intimately kisses Greg, but Greg rebuffs his advances. Julie offers Shane a ride in her limo as a consolation after her decision to leave to further her career, but Shane declines. Rubell is arrested publicly and watches as Shane walks out of his life. Snapshots of the famous faces that vacated Studio 54 are shown.
- Ryan Phillippe as Shane O'Shea
- Salma Hayek as Anita Randazzo
- Neve Campbell as Julie Black
- Mike Myers as Steve Rubell
- Sela Ward as Billie Auster
- Breckin Meyer as Greg Randazzo
- Sherry Stringfield as Viv
- Cameron Mathison as Atlanta
- Heather Matarazzo as Grace O'Shea
- Skipp Sudduth as Harlan O'Shea
- Mark Ruffalo as Ricko
- Lauren Hutton as Liz Vangelder
- Michael York as Ambassador
- Ellen Albertini Dow as Disco Dottie
- Peter Bogdanovich
- Cindy Crawford
- Sheryl Crow
- Elio Fiorucci
- Bruce Jay Friedman
- Art Garfunkel
- Georgina Grenville
- Thelma Houston
- Ron Jeremy
- Beverly Johnson
- Heidi Klum
- Lorna Luft
- Valerie Perrine
- Stars on 54 (Amber, Jocelyn Enriquez, and Ultra Naté)
- Cecilie Thomsen
- Donald Trump
- Frederique van der Wal
- Veronica Webb
- Sylvester Stallone
Based on two short films Mark Christopher made, Miramax Films persuaded Christopher to direct the full-length feature about Studio 54. He had spent five years researching the club and the time period while working on a screenplay. Miramax purchased a partial screenplay in 1995 and developed the script with the filmmaker for over a year. Christopher shot the film in Toronto over two months in the fall of 1997. During the production, a Miramax executive was often present on the set and studio head Harvey Weinstein flew up from New York to give his approval.
In the 1998 version, Christopher finished his cut of the film and the studio scheduled the film's release for July of the following year. After initial positive reactions within the company and a test screening in Manhattan, further test screenings in the suburbs disappointed the studio. Audiences found the lead character's bisexuality unlikable and reacted negatively to a kiss between Shane and Greg. They also did not respond well to the happy ending for both of them and Anita. Miramax requested cuts be made and Christopher initially refused.
The studio cut of the film received almost universally poor reviews and was a box office disappointment, grossing $16 million on an estimated budget of $13 million. Mike Myers, in his first serious dramatic role, garnered some of the film's only positive word-of-mouth. It was for the longest time his only foray into drama until Inglourious Basterds and Bohemian Rhapsody many years later. Many critics were particularly disappointed with the film's fictional characters and storyline, believing that Studio 54's notorious, real-life past should have been explored more in detail and with better realism. The critical response to the director's cut is more positive. It has a huge cult following among the LGBT community.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 17%, based on 69 reviews, and an average rating of 4.19/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Robbed of its integral LGBTQ themes, 54 is a compromised and disjointed glance at the glory days of disco". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
The 1998 film was nominated for two Razzie Awards, including Worst Actor for Ryan Phillippe and Worst Supporting Actress for Ellen Albertini Dow. Neve Campbell was nominated for Worst Supporting Actress (also for Wild Things) at the 1998 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards.
The film was part of Frameline 39: The San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival.
The 2012 Blu-ray release features several additional and alternate scenes that were not included in the theatrical release. This extended cut runs 100 minutes, eight minutes of which are not in the studio's 92-minute release. A 105-minute director's cut, restoring 44 minutes of original footage and deleting all but a few seconds of the studio-dictated re-shot footage, was screened in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. Miramax and Lionsgate Home Entertainment released 54: The Director's Cut in digital HD on streaming video providers on June 2, 2015.
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- "54 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
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- Wilson, John (September 3, 2007). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywoods Worst. Hachette UK. ISBN 0446510084. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Panorama 2015: Probing the Past to Shape the Future". Berlinale. Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 25 December 2014.