Rock Films

This paper discusses the presentation of rock and roll on film, from the 1956 dramatic film “Don’t Knock the Rock through later documentaries like Woodstock, D.O.A. and The Decline of Western Civilization.

The sexual component of rock and roll has been a strong element in films about and featuring rock and roll from the beginning. In the 1950s, when rock music was new, the films featuring rock often were based around parental fears of the rampant sexuality supposed to go with the music. In films like Don’t Knock the Rock (1956), the plot revolved around convincing parents that kids listening to rock and roll were not inevitably preparing for an orgy. Ironically, the sexual component of rock became stronger and more overt as initial parental fears were sublimated if not eliminated, and rock on film would become sold for its sexual content rather than in spite of it.

Ehrenstein and Reed note how rock and roll fit with the rebellious spirit of teenagers in the 1950s, specifically …

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