American Hot Wax (1978)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5

USA, 1978.  Paramount Pictures.  Story by , , Screenplay by John Kaye.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Along with American Graffiti and The Hollywood Knights, this is a great film for people who want to hear hits of the fifties pumping out of a jukebox for two hours. It’s a loosely told biopic of popular radio DJ Alan Freed, the last of the great record spinners who made names famous in households all around the country when he played new artists on his radio show. The film centers around his organizing a giant concert for rock-and-roll fans, but he runs into trouble when the establishment enters and declares that the music he wants to play is inappropriate. While Freed is being slowly let out of his job, record companies are devising new ways to manipulate listeners into liking the songs they want to be hits, thus giving birth to the modern age of manufactured pop music. Early career appearances by  and  are a hoot, but the film really rests on the amazing talent and energy of who plays Freed with incredible style and verve. Fun film, full of lots of interesting and enjoyable characters, not to mention terrific music.

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