Go, Johnny Go
directed by Paul Landres
starring Alan Freed, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Clanton, Sandy Stewart
SprocketVault , MVD Visuals
Before MTV made the music videos a “Thing” the only way to see your favorite band was either live, or hope they ended up in a juke box movie like Go, Johnny Go. There’s a thin-as-orphanage-soup plot, a youthful yet balding Alan Freed treating black co-producer Chuck Berry as an equal, and a romance so trite the actors might as well be half toned on the screen.
But you really need this movie in your collection; the performance videos of The Cadillacs, Eddy Cochran, and Gene Vincent are outstanding. The Blu-ray I received hadn’t been colorized (thanks MVD!) and the crisp, sharp audio was delicious. Bands played thought entire tracks as they either acted them out or danced like crazy. Other musical acts tucked in here include The Flamingos, Jo-Ann Campbell, Harvey Fuqua and Jackie Wilson. An excellent commentary track fills the time between performances; I don’t recognize Richard Robert, Brent Walker and Randy Skretvedt but they sure know a thing or two about early rock and roll and its uneasy relation with Hollywood. Another interesting factoid: this was the last film credited for that ultimate Poverty Row production house – Hal Roach Studios. This film captures the energy of those early days when Rock and Roll was considered a Communist plot. Pull off your penny loafers and dance like a real, live teenager again.