Saturday, 18 August 2018

CINEMA ROCK 1956-1963

8 January 1956 - Richard Brook's 'Blackboard jungle' (Sementes de violência) with Glenn Ford had 'Rock around the clock' with Bill Haley and His Comets in the sound-track and is considered the very first movie in which rock'n'roll is mentioned. 

12 June 1956 - 'Correio da Manhã' reviews 'Blackboard jungle' (Sementes de violência) released in Rio 5 months after São Paulo. The reviewer begins well, but soon loses himself to mediocrity, plain ignorance and chauvinism:

'Os que vêem 'licenciosidade' e 'falsidade' nesse filme, demonstram, de acordo com a critica lúcida dos Estados Unidos, além de miopia... É através de obras tão 'controvertidas' como 'The wild one' (O selvagem), 'From here to eternity' (A um passo da eternidade) e 'The Cairns mutiny' (A nave da revolta), que, sobrepondo-se aos ataques de censores intelectualmente estreitos, o cinema americano reafirma ser o mais democrático de todos os cinemas - ao mesmo tempo em que confunde os seus detratores crônicos, orientados, no mais das vezes, por Moscou.' 

It is a temerity to say that Hollywood was the 'most democratic cinema in the world' when everyone knew most of the European cinema was decades ahead of the Yankees. Besides, the USA were barely out of the McCarthism witch-hunt, one of the most anti-democratic crusades ever perpetrated in the world. 

19 December 1956 - eagerly waited 'Rock around the clock' (Ao balanço das horas) premieres at Cine Ipiranga, Trianon, Paulista plus 9 other play-houses in Sao Paulo. Soon, newspapers would report about vandalism happening at Cine Paulista on Rua Augusta.

21st December 1956 - Rio's 'Correio da Manhã' reports about Cine Paulista's being vandalized by middle class youth during the projection of 'Rock around the clock'. Note that the word 'rock'n'roll' is treated as a feminine noun: 'a rock'n'roll'... eventually it would become a masculine noun.
30 December 1956 -
15 January 1957 - Three weeks later the same kind of vandalism happens in Rio de Janeiro too.

10 March 1957 - Right on 'Rock around the clock's heels came 'Don't knock the rock', another exploitative film to cash in on the rock wave.

13 October 1957 - 'soft' rock'n'roll balladeer Pat Boone stars in 'Bernardine' (O sonho que eu vivi) released in the USA only on 24 July 1957; old timer Janet Gaynor plays somebody's mother.
4 May 1958 - Elvis Presley's 2nd flick for Paramount Pictures, 'Loving you' (A mulher que eu amo). 
11 May 1958 - Paramount's Elvis Presley's 2nd flick 'Loving you'.

16 July 1958 - Tommy Sands became an overnight sensation and instant teen-idol when he appeared on Kraft Television Theater in January 1957 as 'The singin' idol' where he played the part of a singer was was very similar to Elvis Presley, with guitar, pompadour hair, and excitable teenage fans. The song from the show, 'Teen-age crush' reached #2 on 23rd February 1957, at the Billboard charts for 2 weeks.

'Sing, boy, sing' was shot in record time by Fox and released in the USA in February 1958, to positive reviews, but it turned out to be a financial failure.

12 October 1958 - a 1957 Hollywood production 'Jamboree' called here mistakenly as 'O festival do jazz' was one of the first rock'n'roll exploit-movies. Brazilian singer Cauby Peixoto who was living in the USA in 1957, appears in the credits as Ron Cobby, plays a rock D.J. and sings something about a toreador...

2nd November 1958 - Elvis Presley's most successful rock song becomes 'Prisioneiro do rock and roll' - 'Jailhouse rock'.
25 January 1960 - Mazzaropi's rural hero 'Jeca Tatú' may be the farthest thing possible from rock'n'roll but it was the flick that introduced Brazilian rock sensations Tony & Celly Campello to a larger audience.
16 July 1961 - This Elvis Presley vehicle could hardly be considered as a 'rock movie'. 'Flaming star' (Estrêla de fôgo) is actually a 'western' where he plays a half-breed named Pacer Burton. This was Presley's 6th flick. He started in 1956 with 'Love me tender'; in 1957 with 'Loving you' and 'Jailhouse Rock'; in 1958 with 'King Creole'; in 1959 he served the US Army in Germany; when he came back to the States in 1960, he shot 'G.I. Blues' and this western.

7 September 1961 - One could hardly call 'Where the boys are' - quaintly translated into Portuguese as 'It takes two to fall in love' (Bastam dois para amar) - as a 'rock movie' except for the presence of Connie Francis as an actress and singer and Neil Sedaka's having written the opening title. George Hamilton and Yvette Mimieux were the first stars to confirm their presence. Paula Prentiss was cast despite never having made a movie before. Connie Francis also made her movie debut.
'Where the boys are' is less rock than cool modern jazz - or West Coast jazz - popularized by such acts as Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and Chico Hamilton, then in the vanguard of the college music market, features in a number of scenes.

MGM bolstered the film's success potential by giving a large role to Connie Francis who solicited the services of Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield, to write original material for her. Sedaka & Greenfield wrote 2 potential title songs for the film, but producer Joe Pasternak passed over them in favour of a lush 1950s style movie-theme. Francis recorded 'Where the boys are' on 18 October 1960, in a NYC session with Stan Applebaum arranging and conducting.

22nd October 1961 - This ain't exactly a 'rock' movie but for the appearance of heart-throb Paul Anka opening the credits singing and playig his 1959 hit 'Adam and Eve'. Mamie Van Doren always had a foot in the music business being the wife of horn-player Ray Anthony besides having appeared in seminal 'rock movies' like MGM's 'High School confidential' (1958) and 'Girls town' in 1959 where she appeared in the nude. Tuesday Weld always played a 'rebel kid'... and Marty Milner would be at Route 66.


4 January 1962 - 'Dançando o twist' - 'Rock around the twist' - was a new dance-craze which was actually an off-shoot of rock'n'roll & rhythm'n'blues.

14 January 1962 - A week later Paramount announces 'Vamos ao twist' (Hey, let's twist) introduces Joey Dee & the Starliters plus Teddy Randazzo and Jo Ann Campbell.  
29 September 1962 - At the height of the twist craze in Brazil 'Don't knock the twist' (Ao ritmo do twist) with Chubby Checker starts playing in Rio de Janeiro.