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American Hot Wax (1978)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Music  |  17 March 1978 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 944 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 11 critic

This is the story loosely based on Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who introduced rock'n'roll to teenage American radio audiences in the 1950's. Freed was a source of great controversy: ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim McIntire ...
...
...
...
Carl Weaver ...
Member of The Chesterfields (as Carl Earl Weaver)
Al Chalk ...
Member of The Chesterfields
Sam Harkness ...
Member of The Chesterfields
Arnold McCuller ...
Member of The Chesterfields
Jeff Altman ...
Moosie Drier ...
John Lehne ...
...
Jack Edward Ellis ...
Richard Forbes ...
Stephen Pearlman ...
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Storyline

This is the story loosely based on Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who introduced rock'n'roll to teenage American radio audiences in the 1950's. Freed was a source of great controversy: criticized by conservatives for corrupting youth with the "devil's music"; hated by racists for promoting African American music for white consumption; persecuted by law enforcement officials and finally brought down by the "payola" scandals. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1959. New York City. The battleground was Rock and Roll. It was the beginning of an era. You shoulda been there.

Genres:

Drama | History | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Hot Wax - kuumaa vahaa  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screamin' Jay Hawkins:  As himself. See more »

Goofs

The riot at the live Rock n' Roll show in 58', which ultimately led to Freed being fired from WINS Radio in NY, and forced into bankruptcy. Actually, the riot that Freed was accused of starting, but was later cleared of all charges, took place at the Boston Arena, and not the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, like the movie depicts. See more »

Quotes

Alan Freed: This is Alan Freed... and this is Rock and Roll.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The 1970s (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

A Thousand Miles Away
Written by James Sheppard and William H. Miller
Performed by The Heartbeats (as Heartbeats)
Courtesy of Sue Ellen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is rock'n'roll!
12 November 1999 | by (Olympia, WA) – See all my reviews

While a lot of movies have tried to show what the early rock'n'roll era was like -- American Hot Wax is the only movie that showed us what it FELT like.

Jerry Lee, Chuck Berry, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and groups put together for the movie -- The Chesterfields (as Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers), The Delights (as The Chantels), and Timmy and the Tulips (as The Fleetwoods) -- Man Oh Man -- Wowee! These last three groups were in some ways better then the originals -- if that's possible. Check out those "Dee-Lites!"

What music, what a house band! What a recreation of an early rock'n'roll show in a movie theater. Hot Wax is amazing!

The Freed character -- Somewhat sanitized, but dynomite! Jay Leno and Fran Dresher -- wonderful! Lorrane Newman was a knock out! Every character is perfect. Teenage Louise's parents -- real or what?

Look for period details like the manager's (of the Laverne Baker-like singer) shades. Like the lable on the Little Richard record in the film's opening scene.

In a recent TV movie about Alan Freed, the character played a Little Richard record on the radio. The camera focused on the turntable. There was a generic record playing. Phony baloney. I changed the channel.

In American Hot Wax, the record was spinning on a turntable in the foreground. It was a Little Richard record all right -- and it was on the Specialty lable!

We originally saw American Hot Wax at the drive-in back when it first came out. Somehow it seemed fitting. I now have the sound track and a video copy of the movie from an HBO showing. Someday, hopefully, this great film will be commercially available on video. You have got to see this movie!

There is a scene in the radio station where the Program Director asks Freed why he has to play his monitor speakers so loud. "Because they know when you are listening," answers Freed. How true. Crank it up Alan!


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