Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mr Rock N Roll The Alan Freed Story|
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts
Starring Judd Nelson as Alan Freed, "Mr. Rock `N' Roll" is the true story of the controversial Cleveland DJ who tapped into the hearts and pockets of America's teens, fueling the burgeoning youth markets and helping to est... more »
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Alan Argent | Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK. | 08/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was an okay biopic of Alan Freed, some excellent presentations of early rhythm and blues / rock and roll music and a lovely nostalgic trip down memory lane. Those Fifties American cars were rather fine too!
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.
Great music... great sound.. but too much fiction.
Steven I. Ramm | Phila, PA USA | 07/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Great music... great sound.. but too much fiction.
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. They each have one line at the beginning as conservative White parents who are made at the "race music" Free began playing.
So, if you are looking for facts, PLEASE look elsewhere. Its almost impossible - unless you know Freed's real story - to know what events ARE true.
But as a fluff music that will bring back memories, this is a fun film to watch. I was really impressed by the sound quality, which was sharp and clear.
If you want to see the real Freed's in action, but know that you are seeing fiction (though no less than this film's details), check out the similarly titled "Mister Rock and Roll" (note the spekking differences in the first and third words) from 1957, that stars the real Freed and the REAL artists whose careers he helped launch. (Funny, didn't Nelson get to see this before making this film? He would have known how Freed sounded.)
By the way, there are no special features included and, since it was a TV film, not even a trailer.