A frustrated big-band promoter runs in to rock-and-rollers Bill Haley and the Comets at a small-town dance. He quickly becomes their manager and, with the help of Alan Freed, hopes to bring... See full summary »
A frustrated big-band promoter runs in to rock-and-rollers Bill Haley and the Comets at a small-town dance. He quickly becomes their manager and, with the help of Alan Freed, hopes to bring the new sound to the entire country. But will a conniving booking agent, with a personal ax to grind with the manager, conspire to keep the band from making the big time? Written by
the original rock'n'roll feature film--great showcase for Bill Haley and His Comets
Journeyman director Fred Sears (also an actor in many films--I remember him from Charles Starrett westerns) was a good choice to direct this low-budget Sam Katzman-produced quickie, meant to cash in on the rock'n'roll fad and the celebrity of Bill Haley and His Comets. Sears gets right down to business and features the music throughout--with wonderful (mostly) mimed performances by Bill Haley of his classic early Decca recordings, which still rock out today. Also seen are the pioneering lounge-rocknroll band Freddie Bell and His Bellboys, who were fine entertainers in the Louis Prima vein and who provided Elvis with Hound Dog. A plot is woven into the film here and there to keep things moving, but the emphasis is on the music. Haley's friendly persona comes across well in his limited dialogue scenes, and the other characters in his band, such as sax player Rudy Pompilli, are quite animated, capturing a bit of what his live shows must have been like (probably much wilder than this film). Alan Freed also appears and is worked into the plot, and the Platters sing their two biggest hits. All together, it's an excellent time capsule into the early days of rock'n'roll, and it's a wonderful showcase for the great Bill Haley, who still has not received his due as a music pioneer. It's easy to see why the film caused riots when shown overseas. Don't miss it if you like Haley, Freed, and the glory days of rocknroll.
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