Tuesday, April 26, 2016

If it's Tuesday....

TCM is spending a night tonight with the movies of Tuesday Weld. I think I actually haven't seen Sex Kittens Go to College before; that on is airing overnight at 3:15 AM. One of the movies airing tonight that does deserve a bit more than a brief mention is the one that kicks off the night at 8:00 PM, Rock Rock Rock!

This was one of those movies made in the early part of the rock and roll era, when promoters were trying to appeal to the young crowd by putting the teens' new music on screen. One of the things that meant is that the plots were rather worse. I've mentioned Rock Around the Clock and its almost shot-for-shot remake Twist Around the Clock before; those at least had the good sense to put their plots in the business side of the music industry . In Rock Rock Rock! however, the plot, such as it is, involves Tuesday (who was about 13 or 14 at the time) tying to get the $30 (in mid-50s dollars, mind you) to buy a dress for the big dance. Her boyfriend, meanwhile, is trying to line up some rock and roll names to perform.

In a movie like this, it comes down to the performances. The filmmakers got Connie Francis, who I wouldn't exactly call a rock and roll artist although she was quite succesful commercially in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to dub Tuesday Weld's singing voice. Elsewhere in the movie, there's Chuck Berry and Frankie Lymon. But the other interesting thing in a movie like this is to see the artist the producers thought would become famous, but aren't remembered today. Cirino and the Bowties?

One other thing is that movies actually made in the 1950s probably have a more authentic take on 50s set design (those lamps!) than movies made today looking back at the 50s.

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