Rock Around the Clock (1956) starring Johnny Johnston, Alix Talton, Lisa Gaye, John Archer, Bill Haley, Henry Slate, Earl Barton directed by Fred F. Sears Movie Review

Rock Around the Clock (1956)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Bill Haley and the Comets in Rock Around the Clock (1956)

Crazy Daddy-o

Big band manager Steve Hollis (Johnny Johnston) is having a tough time as the big band sound is coming to an end and he needs to discover the next sound or else he will sink. On the way to New York they stop off at Strawberry Springs, a small town but a rowdy one as they discover all the kids go wild for the local band Bill Haley and the Comets. Spotting that they could be the next big thing Steve and his friend Corny (Henry Slate) persuade them to sign up with them along with dance act Lisa (Lisa Gaye) and Jimmy (Earl Barton). But Steve's plans may be scuppered by music agent Corinne Talbot (Alix Talton) who tries to put a spanner in the works as Steve and Lisa have become an item and she is jealous.

As I write this it is almost 60 years since "Rock Around the Clock" was released and watching it for the first time now it would be fair to say it is an experience and not always a good one. Of course what I am on about is that "Rock Around the Clock" is now at times excruciatingly dated with forced comedy, corny dialogue and the use of dialogue such as "crazy, crazy" and "daddy-o" now coming across as unreal, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if "unreal man" was used at least once. Maybe back in 1950s America kids did speak in this way but with it being every sentence in some scenes it just feels forced.

Lisa Gaye and Earl Barton in Rock Around the Clock (1956)

Of course there is also the storyline and to say it is slim and cliche is being kind. Here we have a fictionalized comedy about the discovery of not only Bill Haley and the Comets but also Rock n Roll yet what we get is a story of a manager who falls in love and a jealous music agent. It isn't strong enough even for a movie which comes in at just 77 minutes but then in truth what the storyline is is little more than a vehicle for the music and that is where "Rock Around the Clock" is a crowd pleaser with the Rock n Roll sound making it a lot of fun.

Aside from that well Bill Haley has a few good scenes especially early on when the band is just being discovered and then there is Lisa Gaye who grabs your attention firstly with her looks but then her performance as she comes across as a smart cookie. As for Johnny Johnston and Alix Talton it is case that whilst not terrible only end up ordinary, lacking the star power and charisma to make their characters come to life.

What this all boils down to is that "Rock Around the Clock" is still an entertaining movie but more because of the great music rather than the cliche ridden storyline which ends up little more than a vehicle for the music.