Edward L. Cahn made everything from Our Gang shorts to It! The Terror from Beyond Space and The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake. He also made this “rock ‘n roll vs. the squares” movie that features Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner.
Playing on a double bill with Runaway Daughters, this was but the start of American-International Pictures reaching out to the teens or more like reaching into their wallets. Most of the films follow the Arkoff Formula:
- Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
- Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
- Killing (a modicum of violence)
- Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
- Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
- Fornication (sex appeal for young adults)
You get a pre-Mannix Mike Connors, Lisa Gaye (who is also in Rock Around the Clock), “fifth Marx Brother” Margaret Dumont and plenty of actors who’d been around Hollywood since before sound was in movies. No matter. The real action here is when the kids defend rock and roll against the old timers in a TV trial.
In 1994, this movie was remade as part of the Rebel Highway series of AIP remakes on Showtime. The new version, directed by Allan Arkush, featured Renee Zellweger in the lead and appearances by Howie Mandel, Max Perlich, the R&B band For Real, Gerrit Graham, John Doe, Riki Rachtman, Nora Dunn, Mary Woronov pretty much playing Ms. Togar from Rock ‘n Roll High School, P.J. Soles playing a square with the last name of Randall (who I sure hope isn’t Riff all grown up) and Dick Miller.