Monday, December 30, 2013

Twist Around the Clock

I've briefly mentioned the movie Twist Around the Clock a couple of times before, mostly because it's an almost exact remake of Rock Around the Clock. TCM is running a series of rock-and-roll related movies tomorrow as part of their New Year's Eve dance party, and both of these are on the schedule: Rock Around the Clock at 1:45 PM, and Twist Around the Clock at 3:15 PM.

Twist Around the Clock has a promoter (John Cronin) lamenting that the old music he was promoting is going out of style. But he's in some town in the middle of nowhere, and finds that everybody si dancing to some new sound that he's never heard in any big city. That sound is, of course, the twist, and the promoter takes a brother and sister (Mary Mitchell and Jeff Parker) who are great at this new dance and promises to make them and their dance a success.

There's one problem, and this time it's actually different than in Rock Around the Clock. In the previous movie, the promoter had a female boss who was trying to get him in bed or something romantic that didn't violate the production code. In this case he's got a male boss (Tol Avery). But the boss has a daughter (Maura McGiveney), and the boss wants his promoter to marry the daughter, when of course the promoter is falling in love with the sister of the dance act.

That all having been said, Twist Around the Clock isn't the sort of movie you watch for the plot. Instead, you watch for the music, and Twist Around the Clock might be a fair bit better than Rock Around the Clock in that regard. One plus is that with the twist being a bit of a novelty, there were a lot of people doing knockoff twist songs, much in the way that a recording artist could do a Christmas song without having it seem like they were doing something completely different. So while we get the Platters in the former movie, who clearly aren't rock and roll no matter how talented they are, we get the Marvelettes doing their one twist song, "Merry Twistmas". We also get Chubby Checker, who isn't an actor, but was the guy who made the twist popular and is at least passably engaging playing himself. Dion DiMucci was reasonably successful, and the Marcels are well-known for their version of the old standard "Blue Moon", although that's not the song they sing here.

Rock Around the Clock and Twist Around the Clock both received a DVD release at one point or another, but they both seem to be out of print. Watch either or both for the curiosity value if you haven't seen them before.

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