6.9/10
1,023
37 user 11 critic

American Hot Wax (1978)

The story of Alan Freed, the pioneering disc jockey who was instrumental in introducing and popularizing rock 'n' roll in the 1950s.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sheryl
...
Mookie
...
Carl Weaver ...
Member of The Chesterfields (as Carl Earl Weaver)
...
Member of The Chesterfields
Sam Harkness ...
Member of The Chesterfields
Arnold McCuller ...
Member of The Chesterfields
...
Lennie Richfield
Moosie Drier ...
Artie Moress
John Lehne ...
D.A. Coleman
...
Stone
Jack Edward Ellis ...
Phillips
Richard Forbes ...
Donahue
Stephen Pearlman ...
Peter Overmyer
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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 1950s. 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

Production Co:

 »
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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

Teenage Louise: My life was nothing until I found the music.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wonder Woman: Amazon Hot Wax (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Splish Splash
Written by Bobby Darin and Murray the 'K' (as Jean Murray)
Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

Rock's History in a real story set to music.
13 October 1999 | by See all my reviews

This film was the great story of Alan Freed, his struggle to bring black Rythym and Blues to the forefront, and the events of one such Rock and Roll show set in the mid 1950's. Alan Freed has been said to have coined the term 'Rock and Roll', but long before he used this word it was used in old blues songs for many of the same reasons: To describe a feeling.

My interest in this film had to do with one performer who wasn't mentioned in the credits here at IMDB and that was Jerry Lee Lewis. He chose to play himself in an earlier setting and his performance was a wee-bit more electrifying than those charming Chesterfields: Who were they anyway and why were they in this movie? I know, they used them to illustrate the struggling groups at that time... The movie was only successful as far as I was concerned by the appearances of Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Where was Fats Domino and where was Little Richard? Well, we got a glimpse of what was supposed to be Little Richard, out in the alley playing drums on the garbage cans. I think that the message there was that black performers of the day just didn't get a fair shake...We all know that this really isn't true, but we also know that many of them were exploited merely because they didn't know business too well, and for one bottle of whiskey a good blues recording could be made, a contract signed and the pockets of the smarter, more knowledgeable white businessmen in the record industry lined as the royalties rolled in, signed back to the studio instead of the artist. Alan Freed did a lot for black rythym and blues. He took the heat in the payola scandal when others like him, who by then, had branched out into television went away free as a bird. Alan Freed made no apologies: The black Rythym and Blues would have a place in history---- even at the expense of shows being closed down because of that so-called 'negro music'. The IRS thing was just the excuse-- Alan Freed was a hero and in my book, he still is. The appearance of Fran Drescher and Jay Leno is amusing to look back on today, but in no way do they help to accurately portray the story of Alan Freed, the big Rock and Roll shows, and the success of the Rock and Roll that we have come to know and love today. If you see this movie, get a good book on Alan Freed and read it. It will help. The movie really doesn't convey the story with as much passion as the real bio of the man Alan Freed does. Still a great soundtrack to have in your LP collection. Jerry Lee's segment will rock away all of your blues....


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