Shake, Rattle and Roll, a movie

This is a fun movie starring a very young Renee Zellweiger. Rock and Roll is sweeping the nation: Fats Domino, the Charelles. There is still segregation but some people are trying to break down the barriers. The local high school kids flock to the 3:00 sock hop on a local t.v. station.

The emcee is a “dangerous man” who was once in juvenile detention (we don’t why). He and the producer reminesce about going to USO dances where all the girls were beautiful. Is there any time in life, he asks, better than dancing close to a girl with her body pressed up against yours?

The mothers are worried. Are their daughters being led into iniquity with this wild new dancing (with an African beat…heavens)? We see one mother in the library putting books into a box: J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Norman Mailer. She rebukes a mother who is checking out F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Don’t you know…he was a terrible alcoholic!”

A group of four young black women sing a beautiful rendition of Blue Moon in harmony. They have dreams of becoming famous but Serena’s church-going mom is worried that their dreams will be crushed. She is realistic about the place of “coloreds” in that society in that era. Rene Z. is part of a band they name “The Eggrolls” and they plan a concert with “Serena and the Sirens.” All the kids are excited and having a great time. Mrs. Ban-the-Books comes along with a noise complaint and asks to police to shut down the concert. A mini riot ensues.

Finally the 3:00 show host sets up the first “court t.v.” Rock and Roll will be put on trial and people will call in their votes. Rene’s mother takes the stand, talking about how she loved having a little girl she could dress up and show off. Now Rene wants to have individual thoughts. “What kind of individual thoughts could a seventeen year old have?”

Rock and Roll wins — until Mrs. Ban-the-Book whispers something to the judge. He claims the votes were miscounted…People my age will think back to their teenage years. Present day teens will probably not believe that our society was so divided and prejudiced in that era. But overall, as Rene says, Music is her life and it is all about the music. Enjoy!


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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