This movie is long out of print and never officially released on DVD. I say officially, since every bootlegger seems to have a copy for sale. Luckily, I taped mine off HBO many years ago and have watched it several times over the years.
American Hot Wax revolves around Alan Freed (Tim McIntire) just before the payola scandal and his last live Rock 'n' Roll Show at The Paramount Theatre.
Tim McIntire doesn't really look like Alan Freed, but he occupies his role so completely, you will believe that he is Alan Freed. As a matter of fact, every actor in American Hot Wax is good and this includes a cast as diverse as Jay Leno as Freed's driver, Fran Drescher as Freed's secretary, Laraine Newman as a sort of Carole King/Ellie Greenwich character, Jeff Altman as a music manager, and Richard Perry as a record producer.
One of the stand out actors, besides McIntire is Moosie Drier as Artie, the head of the Buddy Holly Fan Club. He has the most touching scene in the movie when he's talking to Freed about Holly. I found a clip (with Spanish subtitles) that I am including below.
American Hot Wax is a "busy" movie, there's people moving and talking and music playing almost from start to finish. This creates a feeling of excitement in the viewer that goes well with the rock 'n' roll soundtrack. Robert Altman has nothing on the director of American Hot Wax, Floyd Mutrux, when it comes to handling multiple characters at the same time.
While Floyd Mutrux may not be a well known name, he is well known among movie cultists. Not only did he direct American Hot Wax, but he also directed the cult movies "Aloha Bobby and Rose" and "The Hollywood Knights" plus IMDB shows him as an uncredited writer on "Two Lane Blacktop"
Besides all of the background music in American Hot Wax, the movie also contains performances by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Frankie Ford.
American Hot Wax is not historically accurate and if you view the movie trying to put people, songs, and places into correct chronological order, you're going to be disappointed. However, if you want to watch a movie that will give you the feel and excitement of 1950s rock, then American Hot Wax is for you.