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Mr. Rock N Roll: The Alan Freed Story
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Starring: JUDD NELSON (The Breakfast Club, Dark Asylum) PAULA ABDUL (American Idol) MADCHEN AMICK (Californication, E.R.)
Featuring the songs of: JACKIE WILSON BUDDY HOLLY JERRY LEE LEWIS LITTLE RICHARD BO DIDDLEY and more.
Top Customer Reviews
The first thing you need to know before watching this 1999 made-for-TV film which was broadcast on NBC (you can actually see where the story pauses for commercials) is that at the END of the credits which follow the film is the following phrase : "Certain characters and events are fictionalized". Know that going in and you'll still have a good time, if you know the real facts. I'm guessing this film was made to attract the younger audience that made "Grease" a mega-hit, and not those who lived during Freed's all too brief life (which I was lucky to personally experience). (He died in his mid 40s).
Not only are neither of the radio stations he worked for in both Cleveland and New York given fictitious names. (Couldn't they get the rights?), but many of the records played on the soundtrack - and there are way more than 50 (though all only excerpts) show up in the timeline -2-3 years before their actual chart date. The film uses original recordings and has the actors (all basically unknowns - with the exception of Leon - he has no last name - who plays Jackie Wilson) lip synching the lyrics. The actor (whose name I forget) channeling Jerry Lee Lewis is by far the best.
Seeing that they needed more name recognition than star Judd Nelson (who plays Freed but neither looks like him nor uses Freed's phrasing) the Director brings in Paula Abdul to play a songwriter who has a sleep-in with Freed late in the film. During the opening credits you will see - IN BIG LETTERS - "Special appearances by Bobby Rydell and Fabian" (neither of who, during their careers, was part of Freed's big stars, since they were Philly-based and loyal to Dick Clark). Well, don't blink or you will miss them.Read more ›
The story told us a fair bit about Freed's personal life too, including his apparent inability to save part of his evidently vast fortune for a rainy day and his naiivity regarding his choice of banker.
As enjoyable as it was, the latter part of the film maybe became a bit too much of a hard luck story in Freed's favour and rather glossed over his extra-marital meandering.
On balance, it was still worth a 4 star rating, but on that basis would make the superior "American Hot Wax" (which still hasn't appeared as a genuine non rip-off from VHS tape DVD) worthy of five stars.
From the earliest of movie bios, the producers and directors have always made an effort to pad their subjects stories instead of giving the movie goers the absolute true picture.
Alan Freed was more than the man that coined the phrase rock n roll. He was a pioneer of race relations in this country. The exact thing that made him a target of the old guard, the same people that wanted to keep the status quo among the races.
The film was historicly correct to a point. But the music and the the place that it was inserted in the film was not. The element that was missing most in this film was the true character of Alan Freed. He was the most accessibile of dee jays, he had a rapport with teenagers that in the two films done about him was never truly explored.
In true Hollywood fasion, his marriage to Jackie was embellished while his second wife Inga was never mentioned, though they briefly made reference to a possible affair played by Paula Abdul.
The film was a trip back down memory lane, but did not score as it could have. The performers that played the legends of rock n roll were for the most part bland and uninspired.
If you were to edit both this movie and American Hot Wax together you might have made a quality motion picture.
All in all it was enjoyable, but unfulfilling when trying to capture the true essence of a young jewish man, whose parents had disowned him due to his career choice and the troubled soul, that had an aim in life and carried it through only to be thrown to the wolves by cowards who had agendas that were in keeping with the times.
I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and the movie is well worth a look, but not one that I could watch over and over. To hear true stories about Alan Freed and the music he played go to [...]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting in that it gave a kinda history lesson about the beginnings of RnR not sure Alan Freed was the semi saint they paint him his involvement in the payola scandal is... Read morePublished 13 months ago by John Eland
Mr. Rock 'N' Roll:Alan Freed Story is the story of the early days of Rhythm and Blues, turning into Rock 'N' Roll. Fabian and Bobby Rydell have cameos. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Movie could have been done a little better, I thought, but I still liked it. It gives you a reasonable look at the career of Alan Freed, to whom we DO owe a great debt of gratitude... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Radioman
This is another one of the television mini-series we had record on VHS, but no longer have the player. What a find to locate a DVD of the father of Rock N Roll. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Joshua C. Mccoy