Newest Reviews
Song Without a Name
Incident in a Ghostland
Now, At Last!
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Death at Broadcasting House
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
  Go, Johnny, Go! Rock Rock Rock
Year: 1959
Director: Paul Landres
Stars: Alan Freed, Jimmy Clanton, Sandy Stewart, Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, Richie Valens, The Cadillacs, Jo-Ann Campbell, The Flamingos, Harvey Fuqua, Eddie Cochran, Jimmy Cavallo, Herb Vigran, Frank Wilcox, Barbara Woodell, Milton Frome
Genre: MusicalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Singer and heartthrob Johnny Melody (Jimmy Clanton) is performing onstage for an audience of screaming and cheering teenage girls while his mentor, Alan Freed (as himself) stands in the wings approvingly looking on. Next to Freed is Chuck Berry (also as himself) who badgers him to tell all about the night that Freed discovered Johnny, but he is reluctant to get into all that as Johnny unbuttons his jacket, takes off his tie and flings it into the audience where it is caught by a delighted Julie (Sandy Stewart). Johnny then heads off to change his outfit as Freed relents and tells Chuck all...

This was the last of Freed's movies before his major fall from grace as the victim of a unfair campaign to make him the scapegoat for the payola scandal, where radio presenters were accused of accepting gifts - or bribes - to play certain songs on their shows. It was also notable for featuring musical acts who would be no more in a few years, as Eddie Cochran died the year after this was released, and it marked the only film appearance of Ritchie Valens, who would die in the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. For that reason what was a throwaway item not intended to have any lasting power still retains its interest.

It's nice to see that what could have been strictly ephemeral has been preserved many decades after its initial appearance, as with many works of its type what was intended to be strictly disposable endured, but that's not due to the quality of the acting, that's for sure. Clanton, a teen idol at the time, is a better singer than he is a thespian, and the same applies to most of the cast, with Freed serviceable but thankfully not bursting out into song as he did in one of his previous movies; he does play the drums for Chuck Berry, however, or at least mimes playing the drums, though he's really there as an ambassador for rock 'n' roll.

At a time where this music was still creating a stir in conservative society, it's only Johnny who veers off the straight and narrow, and he's a fictional character. This is put down to him being an orphan, and Freed becomes a surrogate father to the boy, or he does eventually as there's a ridiculously dragged out plot about him looking for the next big singing sensation, whereupon Johnny submits a recording but decides not to put his real name or address on it, not even a phone number for contacting him. The only reason he does this is because the scriptwriters needed the story, such as it was, to last the full seventy-five minutes, and it doesn't half become tiresome.

Fortunately, nobody was really wanting to see this for the story, as it was those music acts that were the true draw. Cochran dances with his guitar, Valens does a surprisingly raucous number considering how polite he looks, and The Flamingos, best known for their harmonising ballads, cut a rug on their energetic song which shows them to have some killer dance moves when they got to let their hair down. It's notable that apart from Chuck Berry, none of the acts really do their hits, mainly because this film was shot just before those best-known records came out, but that's not to say that musically this is a letdown, as apart from the novelty value of seeing them if you only know their songs, the material here is generally pretty good, even great. Berry, incidentally, makes for a genial sidekick, a little sarcastic, but doesn't embarrass himself, which only adds to the appeal of a time capsule that has lasted better than some of its contemporaries.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2388 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: