Sunday, January 5, 2014
LET'S ROCK aka KEEP IT COOL
In Let's Rock, Julius LaRosa plays a balladeer whose career is in the dumps because everyone's listening to Rock n Roll. His manager tries to convince him to record a rock tune, but LaRosa resists jumping on the band wagon. One night he meets a songwriter, played by Phyllis Newman, who unbeknownst to LaRosa has written the song on the flip side of his latest record. This leads to what today would probably earn LaRosa a big laugh, when he asks Newman why she chose to be a songwriter instead of a traditional female career like nursing or secretarial work. Even though LaRosa states "Rock n Roll is something you can't fake", he does finally agree to always include a Rock n Roll song on the flip side of his ballad records which, of course, revives his career with the rocker "Crazy Crazy Party", which closes out the film.
Let's Rock is basically a romance movie between LaRosa and Newman, but since they are both in the music industry, this leads to many opportunities to naturally incorporate music acts into the storyline. Surprisingly, with all the talk about Rock n Roll, there's not a lot of it in the film. The movie opens with The Tyrones rocking out on "Blast-Off", Roy Hamilton has an upbeat number, "Here Comes Love", Wink Martindale (yes, that Wink Martindale, most notable today as a game show host) skirts the edges of rockabilly with "All Love Broke Loose", but the best rocker in the whole movie is provided by The Royal Teens with their hit song, "Short Shorts".
The other songs in Let's Rock fall into categories other than Rock n Roll. Paul Anka sings a ballad, "I'll Be Waiting For You", Danny and The Juniors in a great doo-wop appearance sing "At The Hop", Roy Hamilton has another song in the movie, a ballad, "The Secret Path of Love" and Della Reese also has a ballad with the tune, "Lonelyville". LaRosa has a few other ballads throughout the film, "Two Perfect Strangers, "There Are Times" and "Casual" a duet with Phyllis Newman.
Let's Rock is a pretty decent Rock n Roll exploitation film, a lot better than many I have seen, especially with its coherent, logical plot. The two main problems in the movie are any time LaRosa sings a ballad in the movie, it grinds the film to a halt (I guess if you are a fan of LaRosa, you may have a different outlook about this fact.) and having over half of the film taken up with music other than the type you are trying to make a point about just seemed absurd.