Rock 'n' Roll High School

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Rock 'n' Roll High School
Rock 'n' Roll High SchoolPoster.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Allan Arkush
Produced by Michael Finnell
Written by Richard Whitley
Russ Dvonch
Joseph McBride
Story by Allan Arkush
Joe Dante
Starring P. J. Soles
Dey Young
Vince Van Patten
Clint Howard
Mary Woronov
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited by Larry Bock
Gail Werbin
Distributed by New World Pictures
Buena Vista Home Entertainment (DVD)
Shout! Factory (2010 DVD and Blu-Ray)
Release date(s)
  • August 24, 1979 (1979-08-24)
Running time 93 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200,000[1]

Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 musical comedy film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush, and starring P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, and Clint Howard.[2] The film featured the punk rock group The Ramones.

Plot[edit]

Set in 1980, Vince Lombardi High School keeps losing principals to nervous breakdowns because of the students' love of rock 'n' roll and their disregard for education. Their leader, Riff Randell (P. J. Soles), is the biggest Ramones fan at Vince Lombardi High School. She waits in line for three days to get tickets to see the band, hoping to meet Joey Ramone so she can give him a song she wrote for the band, "Rock 'n' Roll High School".

When Principal Togar (Mary Woronov) takes her ticket away, Riff and her best friend Kate Rambeau (Dey Young) have to find another way to meet their heroes—by winning a radio contest. When Miss Togar and a group of parents attempt to burn a pile of rock records, the students take over the high school, joined by the Ramones, who are made honorary students. When the police are summoned and demand that the students evacuate the building, they do so, which leads to a quite literal explosive finale.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Roger Corman, Executive Producer of the film, was looking to produce a modern teen film similar to the ones he made in his early career during the 1960s, with the focus on current music of the time. The initial title Disco High was selected for a story idea from Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. A script was developed by Richard Whitley, Russ Dvonch, and Joseph McBride. During this time, the film went through several different title changes including Heavy Metal Kids and Girl's Gym. Arkush directed the majority of the film, but Dante also helped when Arkush was suffering from exhaustion.[3]

Corman had originally intended to center the film around the band Cheap Trick, but due to a conflict of schedules, he was forced to find an alternative band. The Ramones were suggested by Paul Bartel, one of the actors in the film.

The genesis for the plot was a favorite story told to the film's original writer by his father, Raymond E. McBride of the Milwaukee Journal, who staged a walkout from his Superior (Wis.) Central High school in the 1920s.[4]

The film was shot on the campus of the defunct Mount Carmel High School in South Central Los Angeles, that had been closed in 1976. The actual demolition of the school was used in the end of the film. Another location was at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California. The American football uniforms and cheerleading outfits were those from MCHS.[citation needed]

Release[edit]

The film was originally released to theaters on August 24, 1979.

Home media[edit]

Rock 'n' Roll High School was released to the home video market on VHS tape in 1996 by New Horizons Home Video (OCLC 36127344). One year later, in 1997, it was released on DVD by Lumivision.[3] A second DVD release occurred in 1999 from Slingshot.[3] Shortly after Joey Ramone's death in 2001, a third DVD release came out from New Concorde.[3] The movie was released on DVD again in 2005 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (ISBN 9780788863424 OCLC 62756806). DVDs were released in the PAL format by Umbrella Entertainment in 2003 (OCLC 223658430) and again in 2007 (OCLC 368008921).

The film is a part of Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics series, reissued on DVD in May 2010.[5] Shout! Factory released the film with exclusive content on Blu-ray on May 11, 2010.

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack album was released around the same time, but included only a limited number of songs from the film. The two main Ramones songs in the film—the title song and "I Want You Around"—were recorded by Ed Stasium but remixed by Phil Spector for the soundtrack album. The original Ed Stasium mixes were not issued until the 1988 compilation album RamonesMania and the 1999 compilation album Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology, respectively.

Side One
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (Phil Spector remix) Ramones Ramones 2:20
2. "I Want You Around" (Phil Spector remix) Ramones Ramones 3:04
3. "Come On Let's Go" (Cover of Ritchie Valens, 1959) Ritchie Valens The Paley Brothers and Ramones 2:14
4. "Ramones Medley: Blitzkrieg Bop / Teenage Lobotomy / California Sun / Pinhead / She's the One" (recorded live at The Roxy, Los Angeles) Ramones, Henry Glover, Morris Levy Ramones 11:04
5. "So It Goes" (from Pure Pop for Now People, 1978) Lowe Nick Lowe 2:31
6. "Energy Fools the Magician" (from Before and After Science, 1977) Eno Brian Eno 2:05
Side Two
No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
7. "Rock 'n' Roll High School"   Ramones P.J. Soles 2:12
8. "Come Back Jonee" (from Question: Are We Not Men? Answer: We Are Devo!, 1978) Gerald V. Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh Devo 3:47
9. "Teenage Depression" (from Teenage Depression, 1976) Dave Higgs Eddie and the Hot Rods 2:57
10. "Smokin' In the Boys Room" (from Yeah!, 1973) Cub Koda, Michael Lutz Brownsville Station 2:57
11. "School Days" (single, 1957) Berry Chuck Berry 2:44
12. "A Dream Goes on Forever" (from Todd, 1974) Rundgren Todd Rundgren 3:26
13. "School's Out" (from School's Out, 1972) Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith Alice Cooper 2:24

Other songs appearing in the film include:

As well as the following songs by the Ramones:

Reception[edit]

Rock 'n' Roll High School received generally positive reviews and has a 79% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based onreviews from 24 film critics.[6] Rock 'n' Roll High School did well enough that Arkush and Whitley followed it up with a sequel, Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever in 1991. The original would become a cult movie classic.

Remake[edit]

On July 31, 2008, it was announced that actor/writer Alex Winter had been hired to script a remake of the film for Howard Stern's production company.[7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Koetting, Christopher T. (2009). Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures (illustrated ed.). Bristol, England, UK: Hemlock Books. p. 165. ISBN 9780955777417. OCLC 707141398. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ G., Rob; C., Mike (September 2004). "P.J. Soles interview - Halloween, Carrie, Stripes". Icons Of Fright.com. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sherman, Craig (July 2001). "Take Three: classic Corman film, examined". ArtsEditor. Retrieved January 15, 2007. 
  4. ^ Holmstrom, John (2001). "Remembering Joey Ramone". Punk (New York City, New York, USA: Ged Dunn). Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ Barton, Steve (April 30, 2010). "Shout! Factory Offers Glimpse of New Roger Corman DVDs and Blu-rays". Dread Central. Beyond, Dread Central Media. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ Drees, Rich (July 31, 2008). "Stern Picks Writer For ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL Redo". FilmBuffOnline. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Michael (July 30, 2008). "Stern sets 'Rock 'n' Roll' remake". In Gray, Timothy M. Variety (Los Angeles, California, USA: Reed Business Information). ISSN 0042-2738. OCLC 806428356. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 

External links[edit]