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|Index||34 reviews in total|
A movie that pre-dates music videos by a number of years, "Rock, Rock, Rock" showcased a number of well-known and not so well-known groups in a venue that, admittedly, had very little plot. However, this was 1956, and to have Alan Freed take groups that had, and still were having, so much social impact in "the real world" and put them together on celluloid was a marvellous event. Again, this was 1956, and I don't think I would have seen Cirino and the Bowties, Johnny Burnette, Teddy Randazzo, Jimmy Cavallo and the Houserockers anywhere else during that period. I watched/shouted to/screamed to/danced/to this movie in 1956 (at 10 years of age) and have seen it about 14-15 times since. I'm certain that had I seen it in 1999 for the first time, my point of view would have been much different, but that's only natural. After all, what kind of critical analysis will Pink Floyd's "The Wall" get in the year 2020? If you can look at this movie with "1956 eyes," you get a heck of a lot more than just "weak plot." By the way, Chubby Checker was NOT in this film.
Alan Freed knew that blacks(Negroes then) were the pioneers of the Rock 'n'
Role era, and he was not afraid to showcase them. All of the bands,
including the white ones, put on a rocking showcase of a pretty good cross
section of rock of the time, including "Rock-a-Billy".
The obvious star of this sitcom like plot, however, is a gorgeous Tuesday Weld at age thirteen (It is hard to believe such a beautiful woman was even more beautiful as a child). Who shows a grace and charm that are far beyond those of the other "teenagers" in the movie.
Definitely a highly entertaining historical document of the times.
This essential time capsule musical from the very dawn of Rock and Roll is really beyond criticism. Many other comments bleat about the quality and the story, but really, would you prefer it did not exist? Is "EIGHT MILE" or (groan) "COOL AS ICE"or (double groan) "GET RICH OR DIE Trying'' a better reminder of their music and time in history? Alan Freed should be almost revered for the work he did in promoting rock and roll in the mid 50s and it is because of him this astonishing record of fascinating music acts of 1955/56 exists. Reacting to it as if it was made today is ridiculous. ROCK ROCK ROCK is a complete world unto itself and made with a keen-ness to entertain and elate through some of the essential music stars of the day. It is also charming. Something none of the other three films mentioned above are or could be in the slightest., given their retarded aggression. ROCK ROCK ROCK is fun and a real surprise. A good complimentary film is the 1976 drama "AMERICAN HOT WAX" which is a bio of Alan Freed with spectacular recreations of the 50s and the Brooklyn Paramount days with Freed causing dancing strife with uptight authorities. Believe it or like it or not.
If you're a fan of the early days of Rock and Roll, then this is a must see. Rock Rock Rock has one of the best line ups of early rock talent seen in these types of films. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers do two numbers as do The Moonglows. Also on hand are rare film appearances by The Flamingos and LaVerne Baker. Rock Rock Rock also contains the only film performance by the great rockabilly group, The Johnny Burnette Trio. Singer-songwriter-producer Teddy Randazzo does several songs with The Three Chuckles and is the male lead opposite Tuesday Weld (whose singing voice is over dubbed by a then unknown Connie Francis. The plot however, is unbelievably ridiculous (it centers around a prom dress!) and Tuedsay Weld plays an incredibly DUMB teenager (she thinks 1 percent of a dollar is one dollar). Alan Freed is great though, introducing the acts and you'll hear one of his top tenor sax specialists, Freddie Mitchell. Fast forward through the "story" and head for the musical numbers if you want, but don't miss this one if you love early Rock and Roll!
The reason to see "Rock, Rock, Rock," like most 50s quickie rock 'n' roll pictures, is, of course, to see great stars like Chuck Berry, Lavern Baker, The Moonglows and The Flamingos. You also get a fair amount of dreck like Cirino and the Bowties and the insufferable Ivy Schulman. Plus, this picture obviously had a budget lower than the cost of a car. (You can tell that some shots look out of sync.) Then, there's Tuesday Weld with her songs dubbed (not too well) by Connie Francis! Still, the picture is fun and early rock 'n' roll DJ impressario Alan Freed looks like he's having a good time. Of course, it wouldn't last.
Another rock 'n' roll quickie. Flimsy plot, but some very good musical
performances. Future sex-kitten, thirteen year old Tuesday Weld makes her
debut with the situation of trying to buy a dress for the prom. She 'lip
syncs' to the voice of Connie Francis. Her boyfriend(Teddy Randazzo) wins a
talent contest and somehow talks DJ Alan Freed into bringing a gaggle of
talent to the prom. Randazzo's singing was about as boring as little Ivy
Schulman's was dreadful.
Redeeming this film are the performances by The Moonglows, Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, Lavern Baker, The Johnny Burnett Trio and Frankie Lymon. The Bowties and the House Rockers were a joke. There were worse movies out there at the time. This is surely worth the price of admission and a cherry coke.
Note: I found it pretty cool that Miss Weld's character admits spending allowance money on playing Elvis records on the jukebox. Later, in 1961, she would actually play a sexpot trying to seduce him in WILD IN THE COUNTRY.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A positively adorable 13-year-old Tuesday Weld makes her simply
smashing film debut in this endearingly inane 50's teen-fueled
rock'n'roll piffle as Dori, a spunky, willful, calculating lass who
can't get her stingy, pipe-smoking, Elvis-hating square dad ("We gotta
teach that girl that money doesn't grow on fathers!") to give her
thirty bucks for a fancy blue strapless dress that Dori wants to wear
to a high school sock hop. So Dori decides to use her considerable wit
and charm to plot some sneaky way of producing the cash on her own.
That's it for the admittedly pretty slender and undernourished story, which basically serves as a slight excuse to showcase eleven blisteringly cooking rock performers. Okay, Will Price's pedestrian direction, the mostly cardboard acting (Weld proves to be the film's key source of bubbly vitality, while legendary 50's disc jockey Alan Freed sadly comes across as a totally cornball stiff and the rest of the underage cast are hopelessly wooden), the static cinematography, Milton Subotsky's feeble script (Subotsky, who also co-produced and handled music director chores, later founded the highly successful British horror studio Amicus), and the occasionally draggy, meandering pace leave a lot to be desired. However, "Rock, Rock, Rock" still manages to be tons of dippy, empty-headed fun, thanks to Weld's perfectly perky presence and the largely spot-on performances from a wonderfully diverse bunch of music acts.
Musically, this movie's most definitely the authentic gnarly article. Rock'n'roll king Chuck Berry does the duck walk and almost makes off with the entire movie, grinning his way through the sizzling car number "You Can't Catch Me," a terrific song which includes a lyrical reference to the New Jersey Turnpike. Firebrand torch singer La Vern Baker releases her redoubtable alto on the sunny "Tra La La." Unbelievably obnoxious four-year-old brat Ivy Shulman makes an absolute fool of herself screeching the uproariously awful "Rock, Pretty Baby" in a hideously off-key, braying voice. The Johnny Burnette Trio let 'er rip with the fantastically forlorn rockabilly doozy "Lonesome Train." The amazing Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers hit a beautifully graceful note with the double whammy of the zippy "Baby Baby" and the classic "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent." The Flamingos melt hearts croaning the exquisitely lilting tear-jerker "Would I Be Crying." The Moonglows deliver gorgeously soaring falsetto doowop harmonies on both "I Knew from the Start" and "Over and Over Again." Brooklynese dreamboats Cirino and the Bowties zero in for the sentimental kill with the lush romantic swooner "Ever Since I Can Remember." Hardcore greaseball rockabilly lords Jimmy Cavallo and the Houserockers lay down a primordial stomping rumba, blowing saxophones to Mars and back on the righteously roughhouse "Big Beat" and the rousing title track. And, rounding things off with a nice smattering of ultra-kitschy high camp silliness, Weld herself badly lip-syncs a pair of marvelously mawkish'n'moronic Connie Francis love ballads: the impossibly inane "I Never Had A Sweetheart" and the deliciously dreadful "Little Blue Wren." Great goofy stuff!
This film is absolutely fantastic. The vocal group harmony is terrific and the selection of artists cannot be beat. The haunting most, beautiful "I Knew From the Start" by the Moonglows was sung with clear perfection. Frankie and the Teenagers had our toes tapping to "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent". The Flamingoes were hitting those perfect notes with "Would I Be Crying". Vocal group harmony such as this is essential in a great movie. A movie of such greatness is far and few between. The greatest vocal group harmony movie is "Rockin the Blues" from 1955 featuring the Hurricanes, the Harptones, and the Wanderers. Check it out if you get a chance.
The best part of the film is, of course, rock n roll music of the day as done by original artists. On the other side of the coin is some of the worst music as well. To tell which is which, one needs simply to view the movie and it becomes obvious. Also, some of the "teenagers" shown have to be pushing 30 or more. However, all in all, I enjoyed this film for the nostalgia of the 50s which, like many others of it's kind, it does contain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The reason I gave it 9 was for the acting but outside of that, this is a great movie of historical rock-n-roll value. Laverne Baker, The Moonglows, Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, and the key double dose scene at the end with Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers performing "Baby Baby" and "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent" (Frankie was 13 at the time of filming.) Outside of the great performers, Alan Freed plays himself, Tuesday Weld (Also 13 at time of filming but looks more older)plays Dori who when singing is actually a dub of Connie Francis. The plot revolves around Dori wanting a specific dress and her dad, wanting to show her some responsibility tells her she has to earn a portion of the money to pay for the dress. This causes an issue when her nemesis allows her to loan her money at an illegal rate and refuses to pay it back. "Grab Your Partner, Grab Your Gal, And Rock" From Vanguard Films (1956)
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