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Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (1999)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  31 October 1999 (USA)
6.4
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This is the story of Alan Freed. He was working as a DJ in Cleveland, Ohio, and he discovered how amazing R&B or Rhytym & Blues is, however, the music is considered to be "BLACK" music. So,... See full summary »

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Title: Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (TV Movie 1999)

Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (TV Movie 1999) on IMDb 6.4/10

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The saga of how Alan Freed discovered rock and roll. The new musical sounds are traced back to their roots in jazz, blues and gospel. Appearances by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Lymon, Lionel Hampton.

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David Gianopoulos ...
Daniel Kash ...
Hooke
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Denise Walton
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Walter Franks ...
Joe W. Davis ...
Buddy Holly (as Joe Warren Davis)
Michael Dunston ...
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Pete Bell
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Storyline

This is the story of Alan Freed. He was working as a DJ in Cleveland, Ohio, and he discovered how amazing R&B or Rhytym & Blues is, however, the music is considered to be "BLACK" music. So, most radio stations won't play it. However, Freed believed that it's the next wave, so he fights to have it played on the air. Eventually, he went into the big time - New York, and he decided to dub this music "ROCK & ROLL". Despite his success, he still had a lot of opposition and made deals with the wrong people, which would lead to his downfall. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

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The story of rock 'n' roll and the people who changed music forever.

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Biography | Drama

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31 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Rock and Roll  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The actor playing Bill Haley is shown playing a guitar solo during "Rock Around the Clock", something the real Haley never did, at least not in 1957-58 when the sequence takes place. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

No justice done to Alan Freed's story here.
4 November 1999 | by (Marietta, GA, USA) – See all my reviews

This film suffers badly from a case of what might be called "TV-Movie Syndrome," a disease that is widespread and often fatal. Its symptoms are a bland, homogenized product that seems to have been mixed in a blender with every other TV-movie and poured into various molds. Superficially the movies may look different, but the essence is the same. Characters are shorn of rough edges and interesting quirks. At the same time subtleties and nuances in stories are glossed over and painted in broad strokes with the same brush. As a result you get a product that almost by definition is vastly inferior to a theatrical release.

A great movie might be made about Alan Freed. He was at the cutting edge at the very beginning of the rock & roll culture, helping to promote a new kind of music that raised an excitement never seen before from a new class in America, the teenager. Besides influencing the popular culture enormously, he also turned out to be one of the forces that helped with the racial integration of this country by bringing black music into white homes and by staging concerts that put blacks and whites in seats together, often for the first time in their lives.

None of that great story is captured very well here. This movie plays out simply as a tale about a popular deejay who ran into a few personal problems. Although it may not have been entirely his fault, Judd Nelson gives an utterly bland performance as Freed, a genuinely charismatic broadcaster and overall character. Obviously the producers felt that very few viewers would have ever seen or heard Freed work, so no attempt was made to create a character that even resembled his on-air persona. There are also lots of lip-synched performances from actors imitating various rock & roll greats. These don't help out at all, not even when using a talented performer like Leon to portray the dynamic Jackie Wilson.

Previously there was a movie made about Freed and his rock & roll career, 'American Hot Wax' starring Tim McIntire. Whatever faults that film may have had it was easily twice the movie this one is. Alan Freed was an important cultural figure of his time whose influence is not generally recognized. This TV-movie is hardly going to change that.


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