Rockabilly Central
The Fifties

Rock Around The Clock (1956)

The first true rock and roll feature film, Rock Around the Clock is a highly fictionalized account of the discovery of rock and roll by small-time promoter Steve Hollis (Johnston), when Hollis visits a small town to find Bill Haley and the Comets packing in the crowds. Hollis also finds time for romance with teenage dancer Lisa (Lisa Gaye). The main purpose of the film was to introduce Haley to a worldwide film audience. The band was joined by fellow rockers Freddie Bell and the Bellboys along with The Platters for this early rock musical. This film was banned in many countries after reports of teenagers ripping up the seats in their excitement over the loud, raucous music on the soundtrack, though today the film is more likely to spur nostalgia.

More info at IMDB

The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

Jayne Mansfield's first starring role is as the outrageously voluptuous but tone-deaf girlfriend of a retired racketeer. He hires a talent agent to transform her into a movie star and they fall in love. High-voltage, candy-colored camp, by comic maven Tashlin, which features some great early rock and roll performances from The Platters, Little Richard, and Fats Domino.

More info at Big Star

Shake Rattle and Rock (1956)

A television DJ wants to find a place for the kids to hang out and enjoy Rock 'n' Roll but some of the older members of the community decide that Rock 'n' Roll is immoral...

More info at Big Star

Rock Baby Rock It (1957)

As far as the plot and the acting are concerned, this 'B' movie is easily one of the worst, but it's a highly sought after flick by rockabilly fans because of the great music footage. It's worth the price just for the footgage of the late, great Johnny carroll.

Contains seventeen songs performed by obscure early rock musicians. Including Johnny Carroll, Kay Wheeler, the Five Stars, the Cell Block Seven, and Preacher Smith and the Deacons.

More info at Big Star

High School Confidential! (1958)

Teen-pic exploitation classic which purports to depict the hard-hitting reality of high school drug abuse. Following a Jerry Lee Lewis performance of the title song on the back of a flatbed truck, mysterious new kid in town Tamblyn quickly ingratiates himself into the biggest pot ring in school while hiding the truth--he's a narc! On the home front, he must ward off the amorous advances of his curvaceous "aunt," (Van Doren) while wooing one of his lovely teachers. Check out appearances by Landon, and famous names Charles Chaplin, Jr., and William Wellman, Jr.

More info at Big Star

King Creole (1958)

A musical drama in which Elvis is a busboy who becomes a big hit when forced to sing in a gangster's nightclub. Because he's obligated to tend to his wimpy father, New Orleans high school student Danny Fisher will not be graduating. Instead, he turns to crime. After the cops nab him for stealing, however, he vows never to violate the law again. Then he manages to land a gig singing in the hip Vieux Carre club in the French Quarter. Trouble is, his history of crime returns to haunt him in the form of mobster Maxie Fields, who demands that Danny perform exclusively for him. As if that conflict were not enough, Danny gets involved with Maxie's squeeze and risks losing his true love, Nellie, as well as his own neck. Danny wants out. But that's not easy because the company he keeps these days prefers machine guns over music.

More info at Big Star

Don't Knock The Rock (1957)

Rock & Roll star, Alan Dale, returns to his home town to get away from the presures of fame, but encounters hostility from the village elders who want him to leave. They secretly stage a rock & roll concert for the youngsters, featuring performances by stars such as Bill Haley and his Comets, Little Richard and the Treniers, and the elders are cherring the youngsters by the end.

Jamboree (1957)

This pleasant, high-gloss rock 'n roll musical finds two singing hopefuls rising in the ranks of the biz, between performances by the likes of Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Connie Francis, and more. Also features The 4 Coins, Charlie Gracie, Jimmy Bowen, Louie Lymon & The Teenchords, Buddy Knox, Frankie Avalon and Slim Whitman.

More info at Big Star

Hot Rod Gang (1958)

Kid who wants to enter his car in the drag races joins a rock band to make enough money to do it.

Features perfromances by Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps.

More info at IMDB

Rock, Rock, Rock (1956)

Authentic 50s musical with performances by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Frankie Lyman and Johnny Burnette.

More info at Big Star

Calypso Heat Wave (1957)

Trite plot - crooked Michael Granger takes over Paul Langton's record company - takes a back seat to performances by Desmond Grey, Hi-Lo's, etc. Also features Maya Angelou, Johnny Desmond, Meg Myles, Darla Hood, Dick Whittinghill, The Treniers, and The Tarriers.

More info at IMDB

Juke Box Rhythm (1959)

w/ Jack Jones, Jo Morrow, Earl Grant Trio, Johnny Otis, The Treniers, George Jessel

More info at IMDB

Non-musical movies, but still cool....

Blackboard Jungle (1955)

Atmospheric story of a teacher's harrowing experience in the New York City school system. Navy veteran Ford is eager to start a new career as a high school teacher and his military training might come in handy. His new school is located in one of the poorest districts and is a magnet for delinquents. The new teacher's idealism fades as he struggles to make a difference to his indifferent students. Rock came to the big screen when Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" bopped over the opening credits.

This controversial film, based on Evan Hunter's bestseller, was withdrawn from the Venice Film Festival. White navy veteran Richard Dadier is eager to start a new career as a high school teacher and his military training might come in handy. His new school -- located in one of the poorest ethnic districts -- is a magnet for delinquent students, hoodlums and ruffians. Artie West and Gregory Miller, kids in Dadier's classroom, are angry, violent and itching to defy authority. But Richard Dadier's convinced he can reach Miller, even if it means taking a few blows.

More info at Big Star

Bus Stop (1956)

Based on the Broadway hit by William Inge, this comic drama is about a rancher who falls for a nightclub singer while stranded at a bus stop in a blizzard. Marilyn Monroe's breakthrough movie and the first films from Lange and Murray, who eventually married. Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor--Don Murray. Based on the William Inge play, "Bus Stop" concerns Bo, a young, obnoxious rancher, who has just arrived in Phoenix to compete in a rodeo. While in a rowdy, cowboy-infested restaurant, he becomes smitten with Cherie, an over-the-hill but still sexy saloon singer. Soon after meeting her, the immature Bo decides he's ready to wed his new love; unfortunately for him, she is not at all interested. As a result, the pair engages in an emotional -- and physical -- battle for Cherie's mind, body and soul.

More info at Big Star

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