|Index||5 reviews in total|
This contrived, let's-showcase-rock 'n' roll-stars film is only worth
for rare performances of LaVerne Baker, Clyde McPhatter, Little Richard,
Frankie Lymon, and others.
However it is certainly NOT worth seeing for the appallingly wooden acting - but then what do you expect with a movie starring Rocky Graziano!?!
Mr. Rock and Roll is another in a series of quickly produced movies that
give us all a glimpse into early rock and roll. This film could have been
GREAT film but, for some reason, it seems like most of the acts chose
worst songs for this movie. Laverne Baker is a case in point, and whatever
made the great Moonglows wear mexican outfits (sombrero's even!) and do a
horrible song "Barcelona Rock"? Ugh! Ferlin Husky's tunes are forgettable
and what on earth is a Shaye Cogan? Lionel Hampton seems just as mis
as country star Ferlin Husky. Historically speaking, this would be our
look at Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers (they dis-banded shortly after the
film was released). Their two numbers are not their best, but very good.
Teddy Randazzo's songs are well done (he sings, among others, "Kiddio",
which was a hit for co-star and friend Brook Benton some years later).
also gives a fine acting performance as does Alan Freed.
With better songs, Mr. Rock and Roll would be a classic, but if you enjoy early rock and roll, this is still a good movie to see.
Even if it is contrived, (see previous comments) this is a is a top showcase film for rock'n'roll music, and that means REAL rock'n'roll. The songs alone are worth the money to see it and although it does feature a range of 50's music there are no poor songs. This film features Teddy Randazzo's best songs, two of LaVerne Baker's best and several all time greats. Please, please, please release it on video or dvd. This along with "The Girl Can't Help It" are the most important part of America's rock'n'roll musical history so let the world see it again. Replay it "Uncle Sam" replay it.
My cousin has fond memories of seeing Mister Rock and Roll because after the movie there was a stage show. Alan Freed's show featured Jackie Wilson and Joanne Campbell. He can't recall who appeared on the show aside from the performers listed here and has tried looking everywhere. The place for this event was the Loew's Paradise theater in the Bronx. Is there anyone out there who lived in the Bronx during that period who remembers this show and the artists who performed that night? The movie opened October 1957 so I am guessing October or perhaps November. My cousin said there were other shows held at the Paradise Theater but it was this particular one that he attended.
I recently watched the TV Movie `Mr. Rock 'n' Roll' so when I saw the
original feature in the schedules I decided to have a look at it to make a
comparison. Well, for me, neither of them is very good but at least the
recent version canvasses the issue of payola (DJ's being paid to play
certain records) while the most controversial moment in the original is
Alan Freed, playing himself very badly, confesses `The only thing I'm
of is being present at the birth of rock and roll'
Apart from that, in the new version there are bad look-a-likes miming to the original recordings whereas in the fifties film we see some of the actual performers miming to recordings. And a mixed bunch they are! Teddy Randazzo starts with a most inferior Elvis impersonation though he later proves himself quite a reasonable crooner. Incidentally in the acting stakes Teddy makes Elvis look like Sir Laurence Olivier, neither he nor Freed are capable of delivering a line. Brooke Benton has a beautiful rich, deep voice and Frankie Lymon's singing is a highlight. Of the rest Ferlin Huskey, who smokes while singing, is a country & western artist out of place here, Laverne Baker seems to be a novelty or comedy singer while Lionel Hampton tries to be Cab Calloway, fails! I must admit Hampton's xylophone playing is very pleasant but hardly rock and roll. A couple called Fisher & Marks attempt to provide comic relief, succeed in being embarrassing, as are the Moonglows in sombreros singing `Barcelona Rock'. And speaking of embarrassment brings me to Rocky Graziano, an ex-boxer trying to be funny. Enough said.
To sum up, `Mister Rock and Roll' barely qualifies as a movie but if you want to see these artistes maybe it's worth a look.
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