"Rock and roll is a river of music which has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, ragtime, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed greatly to the big beat."--Alan Freed, Rock Rock Rock!
This dumb film from 1956 features early Rock and Roll impresario Alan Freed and a cast of young people who'd all been signed to recording contracts. Certainly, they weren't hired for their acting ability. Exceptions include future bit-parter David Winters as bit-part "Melville," and future star Tuesday Weld as our protagonist, Dori. Actually, Weld's performance isn't particularly strong, but she's no singer, either; she lip-synchs her numbers to Connie Francis.
The small, silly plot involves Dori's attempts to get enough money together to buy a strapless evening dress for the prom and thus keep her boyfriend Tommy (Teddy Randazzo) from the clutches of rival Gloria (Jacqueline Kerr). They try to spin Gloria as a bad girl, but both girls prove equally conniving. In addition, thirteen-year-old Weld's relationship with twenty-one-year-old Randazzo might strike audiences as a tad creepy. The story hardly matters; it exists to join musical numbers by artists celebrated and forgotten. At one point, Dori and her bestie watch Freed's TV show and we sit along through six performances, including one by Chuck Berry. At other times, characters break into song on the flimsiest of premises.
Production values are limbo-dancing low: this looks and feels like 1950s TV. Choreography gets entirely overlooked-- the cats and chicks just sway and bop to the tunes. However, in those days of yore, when people went to the movies weekly and many teens would not otherwise see the people they heard on jukebox and radio, Rock Rock Rock! made box office. Indeed, Freed appeared in five similarly-mindlessed flicks between '56 and '59.