Rock Around the Clock (1956)

“It’s rock ‘n roll, and we’re rockin’ tonight!”

Talent scouts Steve (Johnny Johnston) and Corny (Henry Slate) sign on with small-town band Bill Haley and the Comets, as well as dancing duo siblings Lisa (Lisa Gaye) and Jimmy (Earl Barton) — but big-time music agent Corinne Talbot (Alix Talton) is jealous of Steve’s romantic interest in Lisa, and tries her best to foil the band’s success.


Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, “rock ‘n roll triumphs” in this otherwise dated, weakly plotted, poorly acted musical about “talent scouts… looking for a new sound that will get the people dancing again”. Best known as the first “rock ‘n roll film”, Rock Around the Clock was — amazingly enough — highly controversial upon its release. Today, it’s primarily enjoyable for music acts by Bill Haley and the Comets, the Platters, and others.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Many fine performances by Bill Haley and the Comets
    Bill Haley and the Comets
  • The Platters crooning “Only You”
    The Platters
  • Gaye and Barton swinging together on the dance floor

Must See?
Yes, simply as part of music (and film) history.



One Response to “Rock Around the Clock (1956)”

  1. First viewing. A must, mostly as an historical document.

    Ah, out with the old, in with the new! The end of an era – when Big Band went boom and rock ‘n’ roll began to rule!

    But this film contains more, as it includes that seemingly timeless Latin beat – it’s funny when Tony Martinez and his band feel forced to downplay for a ‘square’ crowd. And it’s not just about the songs – there’s some mighty fancy steppin’ afoot by some very talented hoofers. And the story is even a bit fun, esp. with its somewhat twisted booking agent on-board.

    It’s a generally spirited relic, adequately if not memorably acted. At least you don’t have to cringe between musical numbers.

    [Trivia note: The name of one of The Platters was David Lynch. Odd ’cause I was thinking that the director David Lynch could very well be a huge Platters fan.]

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