Dragstrip Girl / Rock All Night (April, 1957)

Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: 4:44 AM - Sep 01, 2005

4:28 PM - Sep 16, 2018 #1



Rock All Night (1957) Dir. Roger Corman
American International Pictures
62 min. / B&W / 1.85:1

Dragstrip Girl (1957) Dir. Edward L. Cahn
American International Pictures
67 min. / B&W / 1.85:1

DVDs: Direct Video UK (Region 2)

Ah, yes, it's time once again to return to those thrilling days of something or other, as our Balcony Time Machine returns us to that magical time called Nineteen Fifty Seven when movies were cool and rock 'n' roll was here to stay. First up is a Balcony fave, Rock All Night, shot by Mr. Corman on only two sets.

The show opens (set #1) at a swanky nightclub where the Platters perform a couple of songs and chip-on-his-shoulder Dick Miller gets in an argument with drunken lout Bruno VeSota and is tossed out, but not before getting swishy maitre'd tossed out as well. Deciding that it's not much fun hanging around joints frequented by Bruno VeSota (he probably had seen Attack of the Giant Leeches), Mr. Miller heads over to...

Set #2, a beer joint called Cloud Nine, where a rock 'n' roll combo called the Blockbusters are performing and lovely Abby Dalton is auditioning. She stinks, however, despite manager Mel Welles' promotional savvy.

Thankfully, at this point, something happens: a couple of holdup men on the lam from John Law burst in, guns a-blazin'. (Well, okay, THAT'S a little strong, but they DO shoot Corman regular Ed Nelson.) Our two tough-as-nails killers? Um, Russell "The Professor" Johnson and Jonathan "Seymour Krelboing" Haze, and if you've got a 7 year old niece, she could take THOSE two. All of the "tough guys" in the bar cower before the nasty duo of the Professor and Seymour, but not Mr. Miller, let me tell you.

Any action or plot or subplot that keeps Miss Dalton from singing again, I'm in favor of.

Barboura Morris is one of the women in the bar, which I mention because of all the Corman women, I think she's the sexiest and the one I've had the crush on for decades.

Supposed hipster Lord Buckley was supposed to be the promoter, but he dropped out at the last minute (didn't dig the Platters' groove, I guess, cats) and was replaced by impersonator Mel Welles as Sir Bop.

Million-dollar Sir Bop Dialog:
"Those squares don't know the difference between Dinah Washington and the Washington Monument!"

Rock All Night is a a fun little movie, actually, and I once got to discuss it with an actual member of the Platters (have YOU ever had a Platter sing "You've Got that Magic Touch" to you personally? I have, so you need to treat me with a little more respect, bub). Apparently, this was adapted from a half-hour TV play in which Dane Clark played Dick Miller and Lee Marvin played the Professor. And in case you're wondering what Mr. Corman thought of the film:

"This was shot on one of my lowest budgets, in five days. Despite the budget limitations, I've always liked the picture. It was one of the first films to deal with rock 'n' roll; the hero was a little guy who was pushed around in the rock 'n' roll bar life while trying to win the pretty girl. The aim was to deal on multiple levels within the simple framework, to show the rock 'n' roll milieu, the explosion of something new in the culture, and at the same time people struggling toward something they want."

I dunno if Corman was square or not, but he made good rock 'n' roll movies, if not a lot of 'em. Check out Carnival Rock sometime.

Sorry, while I was droning on we missed the snack bar ads and only caught part of the cartoon, Magoo's Moosehunt, which was one of the funnier Magoos (he shoots a tree thinking it's a moose and talks to a porcupine on a stump as if it's his hunting buddy, that sort of thing - the funniest bit is Magoo driving on a mountain road, sees a sign that reads DANGEROUS CURVE and says aloud, "Turn Right Here"), plus trailers for upcoming features Motorcycle Gang and Sorority Girl!

And then it was on to our co-feature, Dragstrip Girl, one of numerous AIP films with the same cast (in fact, which just saw nearly everybody in THIS film in the trailer for Motorcycle Gang - and seemingly with the same plot, too). Steve Terrell is the tough guy with no dough who hopes to win a college scholarship by taking home the checkered flag in the Big Race; John Ashley, who was in AIP films forever, is the rich guy who decides to put a super-atomic souped-up engine in a car to beat Terrell just 'cause he can. In between is our titular (and how) Dragstrip Girl, Fay Spain, who's out for kicks, ya git me, kicks. Frank Gorshin is one of the kids in the gang, and he does an impression of Fay Spain(!) while Ashley imitates Elvis. You can't buy entertainment like that THESE days, kids.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Girl: "You never take me anywhere!"
Boy: "Well, I told ja: ask for a bigger allowance!"

Another good one. The Terrell-Ashley rivalry is a hoot (Ashley's a real dick) and Miss Spain - who plays a teenage girl, was in her mid-20s, and looks like a 30-something sexpot) - is one of AIP's most engaging leading ladies. Lots of necking, dancing, comedy, and racing thrills, too. This drive-in double feature really delivered the goods, and it's a shame most of the AIP films are out of reach these days.

Don't forget to remove the speakers from your window before leaving, folks. Drive safely! Good night!
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: 2:02 AM - Oct 07, 2005

10:40 PM - Sep 16, 2018 #2

Mr. G on a long forgotten thread: "On the drive back, I absolutely turned over in my mind what the #1 film on my "ain't watched" list is now. I decided to check the AFI list of "100 Best American Movies" and find the highest-ranking film on the list I'd never seen. Ever."

Hmmm. Guess that didn’t work out. Oh well.

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
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Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: 4:44 AM - Sep 01, 2005

11:10 PM - Sep 16, 2018 #3

Larry D'Arabia wasn't enough for you people? Sheesh.

In case you haven't noticed, I love AIP movies, I love 1950s pictures, I love 1957 movies in particular, I love rock 'n' roll, and I certainly enjoying ogling Fay Spain, buster.

That said, I've watched some really good A movies lately that I ain't a-posted reviews on yet. Check back in often.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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