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Rock Around the Clock (1956).

February 10, 2009

The Scoop:
Rock ‘n’ roll music helped gain its legitimacy with this film, the first-ever rock ‘n’ roll movie. Bill Haley and the Comets play themselves in a story chronicling a small-town band with a new sound on its way to success. (The story, of course, had nothing at all to do with the band’s real career path, but that’s beside the point.)

There’s plenty of music, provided not only by the Comets, but also by the Platters, Tony Martinez, and Freddie Bell and his Bellboys. Pioneering deejay Alan Freed is also along for the ride. The non-musical parts of the film (written pseudonymously by Robert E. Kent, directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Johnny Johnston, and Alix Talton) is strictly routine. But it is at least executed competently and doesn’t drag the film down.

The box office success of this film launched the wave of ’50s rock films, and it’s still one of the best, filled with great music and great dancing.

Best Line:
Visitor: “Hey sister, what do you call that exercise you’re getting?” / Dancing Girl: “It’s rock ‘n’ roll, brother, and we’re rockin’ tonight!”

Side Note:
Although this was the first rock ‘n’ roll film, it was actually the second to feature a rock ‘n’ roll song on its soundtrack. The first was “Blackboard Jungle” (1955) whose opening credit theme was, of course, “Rock Around the Clock.” It was delirious reaction to that film by teen audiences that helped get this film made.

Companion Viewing:
The whole wave of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll films, including “Mister Rock and Roll” (1957), “Go, Johnny, Go!” (1958) and “Rock Rock Rock” (1956).

Hollywood Teen Movies.
Haley’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame page.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

Bill Haley and the Comets are discovered while performing “See You Later Alligator”:

Freddie Bell and the Bellboys do “Giddy Up a Ding Dong”:

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