1st Edition

Rock around the Clock Exploitation, Rock 'n' roll and the Origins of Youth Culture

By Yannis Tzioumakis, Siân Lincoln Copyright 2024
    144 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Examining one of the earliest films made specifically for young audiences in US cinema, Rock around the Clock (1956), this book explores the exploitation production company that made the film and the ways it represented young people, especially in terms of their association with rock ’n’ roll music and culture.

    Providing new avenues of approaching the film, the book looks at how Rock around the Clock has attracted significant scholarly attention, despite its origins as a low-budget production made by master exploitation filmmaker Sam Katzman. It challenges accounts that see the film’s young people as juvenile delinquents, using instead the label ‘cultural rebels’ as a signifier of youth’s ability to resurrect a moribund music industry and rejuvenate a stale youth culture. This book also questions the nature of the label ‘exploitation’ as applied to the film by examining Columbia Pictures’ role as a resource provider for Katzman’s film, comparing Rock around the Clock to contemporaneous films with a youth focus that were produced in different industrial contexts and investigating its relationship to adaptation by asking whether the film is an example of a ‘postliterary’ adaptation.

    Rich on archival research and industrial and textual analysis, Rock around the Clock will interest both film studies and youth cultures scholars.

    Introduction. Rock around the Clock: From Exploitation to Legitimacy  1.  (Re)imagining Youth: The ‘Birth’ of the Teenager Under the Spectre of Rock ‘n’ Roll  2. Whos’ Exploiting What and How (1): Rock around the Clock and Exploitation Formulas in an Industry in Transition  3. Whos’ Exploiting What and How (2): Rock around the Clock between Major Studio and Independent Film Production  4. Who’s Exploiting What and How (3): Film Adaptation and the Boundaries of Exploitation in Rock Around the Clock  Coda. ‘The Living End’ or the Rest is History


    Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of five books and co-editor of seven collections. His next book is a monograph under the title When Hollywood Came to Greece, 1957-1967, while after this he will be co-authoring a volume on the 100-year history of Paramount. Yannis also co-edits the Routledge Hollywood Centenary and the Cinema and Youth Cultures book series.

    Siân Lincoln is an independent scholar who has published widely on aspects of youth cultures. Her monograph Youth Culture and Private Space was published in 2012 and her co-authored book with Brady Robards Growing up on Facebook was published in 2020. She is co-editor of two book series: Cinema and Youth Cultures and the Palgrave Studies in the History of Subcultures & Popular Music. Sian is on the management group of the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Music, Subcultures and Social Change.