HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
20th Century Women
Monster Trucks
Lookout, The
Black Belt
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Their Finest
Stella Cadente
Water Drops on Burning Rocks
Replace
Belladonna of Sadness
Aquarius
Erik the Conqueror
Baghead
Guns at Batasi
Gang Story, A
Magnificent Ambersons, The
Climber, The
It's a Big Country
Raw
Last Man Standing
Transfiguration, The
Alien Nation
Kajaki
Certain Fury
Life
Hundra
Wonder Woman
Francesca
Jimi Plays Berkeley
Berlin Syndrome
   
 
Newest Articles
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
Let's Get Harry: Repo Man and Paris, Texas
Shut Up, Crime! The Punisher at the Movies
Thunderbollocks: The Golden Age of Bond Rip-Offs
   
 
  Rock Around the Clock We All Have To Start SomewhereBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Fred F. Sears
Stars: Johnny Johnston, Alix Talton, Lisa Gaye, John Archer, Henry Slate, Earl Barton, Joe Palma, Alan Freed, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, Tony Martinez
Genre: Drama, Music
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Steve Hollis (Johnny Johnston) is the manager of a dance band, but they are going out of fashion as he finds tonight when a sparsely attended show does little for their funds. So little that he quits there and then to seek some more lucrative acts to promote, though one member of the band, bass player Corny LaSalle (Henry Slate), elects to join him in his quest, leaving the rest of the musicians behind. As they set off along the country roads of the United States, they wonder what's out there but before long they have their answer: a surprisingly popular dance out in a smalltown which piques Steve's interest. Just who are Bill Haley and the Comets?

Only the band that started the rock and roll craze, and by extension were responsible for the rest of rock and pop leading up to the present day, that's who. But watching the movie shot in the first month of 1956 designed to cash in on the interest in the movement, you may be pondering that surely there were acts better suited to spearheading a global revolution in music than this lot, no matter how catchy their signature tune was. They performed a few numbers here, and Bill got a few lines, but they were long way from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran... if anything, they were more Pat Boone than Buddy Holly, yet there were a few months in the centre of the decade where they were seen as actively dangerous.

In Britain, there were riots as the Teddy Boys were fired up by the bouncing beat of Rock Around the Clock which they took as their anthem and so concerned were American authorities that they took to banning this movie in certain cities. You watch it now and it seems absurdly inoffensive, an update of many a cheap musical flick from the thirties designed to showcase a few bands and singers for those curious to see what they looked like having only known them from their records. In this case, Bill Haley and his Comets (Haley's Comets, geddit?) were a bunch of cheery middle-aged chaps who were energetic but not anyone's idea of a teen idol - you can well understand why the fever needed an Elvis Presley to become the figurehead.

In fact, although their music was heard Haley and company were not even the stars of their own movie. That duty belonged to Johnston, already middle-aged himself, and a collection of not very famous (i.e. cheap) actors producer Sam Katzman had assembled purely to cash in, he being a seasoned exponent of that sort of cinematic opportunism. Also along for the ride were former beauty queen Alix Talton as the supposedly super-bitchy promoter who Steve is trying to interest in his new find, though she turns out predictably to be a pussycat, and Debra Paget's sister Lisa Gaye who took care of the dancing Johnston couldn't have approximated in a million years. She performs in front of the band, and say what you like about the rest of it, at least part of the energy of that initial excitement was captured in the dancing.

Rather uncomfortably, nineteen-year-old Gaye got to be the fortysomething Johnston's love interest as well - did they have a problem working out the target audience? Even Breakin', this film's most obvious descendent, sorted the generation gap with some conviction, although to be fair the concept of teenagers embracing a fashion their parents just didn't understand was being crystalised by the rock 'n' roll phenomenon about this point in time. There were other acts here to complement Haley, a Latin American musician Tony Martinez, suggesting confusion, easy availability or both as the reason for his inclusion, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys who supplied light and disposable tunes you won't remember within a minute of their numbers being over, and the classier Platters, who were lumped in with a lot of early rock but more fitting to an earlier age of crooning, though they are the most skilled band we hear. DJ Alan Freed, for whom this music would make and break him, showed up too, but watch this for Haley and the Comets: within the year he'd be a hasbeen. Fickle business, eh?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 828 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Shrimpton
  Vikki Sanderson
   

 

Last Updated: