Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Paisley

You might guess that we queued up Roger Corman's teen classic Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) because there is a little part for Dick Miller. And you'd be part right. Also Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, the Real Don Steel, P.J. Soles and Dey Young, and of course the Ramones. But mainly, Grady Sutton - Og Oggleby himself.

Really what brought it on was a very thorough podcast on the Projection Booth. They interviewed the writers, director Alan Arkush, Mary Woronov, P.J. Soles, Dey Young and more. It was very informative, telling the story of how they got Roger Corman to make this movie - It was going to be Disco High School, but they convinced Corman that if he liked the music, the kids would hate it and vice versa. Then it was going to be made with Cheap Trick, but they wanted too much money. And so on.

But one story was how they wanted to get some real old Hollywood into the film, so they called up Grady Sutton - you might recognize him as the kid that W.C. Fields calls a jabberknowl and a mooncalf in The Bank Dick. He was living in quiet retirement but agreed to do this, his last film. It isn't a big part, but it's a great one.

Of course, the big thrill in the movie is the Ramones. It's amazing how well their music holds up - hard-rocking and full of hooks, stripped down and poppy. The incidental music is great, too, with Brownsville Station, Peter Greene and Danny Kirwin era Fleetwood Mac, Brian Eno, Devo, and the MC5.

Finally, Dick Miller plays the police chief (there's a rumor that his badge says "Chief Paisley"). His ad-libbed line, "The Ramones are ugly, ugly people" pretty much sums it all up.

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