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Long Live Rock & Roll Movies


cujas
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Last night I saw *The Girl Can't Help It* for the first time. It dawned on me how this one little movie launched not only the genre but also had a tremendous influence on young people the world over, especially some in Liverpool.

 

Today seeing Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Fats Domino at their peak is historic, but not really nostalgic. The performers and their music are so vibrant and fresh--as the first time I heard them.

 

It's funny seeing Vincent--and thinking about The Stray Cats--it's so incestuous.

 

My all-time favorite rock 'n roll movie is one made the next year after "The Girl". It stars one artist, who sings all the songs in a half-baked autobiographical film: "Loving You."

 

Still today its amazing how good these films are and how well they hold up.

 

Can you name some others--i.e. before "A Hard Day's Night"?

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 31, 2010 6:31 PM

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cujas - did you catch any of the rock n roll movies TCM aired in June -or was it July? Anyway, it was "Teen Movies" month, and they showed quite a few old rock n roll flicks. One night, quite late, they had *Jailhouse Rock* ; of course there are many Elvis movies, but only a few of them captured that golden time when the King was at this peak.

They also screened a couple of "rock n roll" films from around 1955, but I absolutely cannot remember what they were called. One had Tuesday Weld in it, and I'm afraid the story itself isn't very good, but it's good some fun musical performances. The other had Bill Haley and the Comets, they were the "exciting new thing, daddyo", something about a booking agent who has a thing for Bill Haley's agent. Anyway, it's very high spirited and there's lots of energetic dancing in it.

 

Wish I could remember the titles of these films.

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I love *The Girl Can't Help It* with all the great singing talent on display.

 

Others I have enjoyed over the years:

 

*Jailhouse Rock*

*Hard Day's Night*

*Viva Las Vegas*

*Rock and Roll High School*

*American Hot Wax*

"Get Crazy"

 

And, probably my favorite, *Streets of Fire*

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Good topic. I heartily second lzcutter's mention of "American Hot Wax". It's been too many years since I've seen this classic. I'd like to throw in "The Idolmaker", based on the guy who discovered Frankie Avalon and Fabian. I know those two aren't to everyone's taste, but it's a good look at "the biz" and Ray Sharkey gives the performance of a lifetime as their manager. Another one worth looking into is "Grace Of My Heart", which credibly dovetails storylines involving East Coast / Brill Building songwriters and the West Coast pop scene. Illeana Douglas is a standout as the Carole King-type character, as is Matt Damon as the Brian Wilson type. Lots of original, era-specific music. And, does anyone else think "Cadillac Records" got it right, whereas "Dreamgirls" just sort of wandered off into who-knows-where?

 

Edited by: DougieB on Sep 4, 2010 7:06 PM

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Chuck Berry was in *Rock, Rock, Rock* in 1956, and *Go, Johnny, Go* in 1959. Not great films, but worth a watch for fans of the era/music. I believe both were shown on TCM this summer.

 

Addendum: as a Who fan, two of my favorite rock and roll films are *The Kids Are Alright*, and *Quadrophenia*. Frank Zappa made some good ones two, like *200 Motels*, and *Baby Snakes*.

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Sep 4, 2010 9:04 PM

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Dougieb,

 

I love *Grace of My Heart* ! I had totally forgotten about that little gem of a film, thanks for reminding me!

 

And yes Ms. Douglas is terrific in the lead role!

 

And Ray Sharkey should have had a much bigger career. *The Idolmaker* is as good as it is because of him.

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Miss W--

 

I had a Stones album --think it was "12X5" --they had a song on it ???South Michigan Ave, which was the address for Chess records.

 

In those days, The Beatles, Stones, Animals always included a Chuck Berry song on their albums just to show they knew how to play rock.

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