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Rock All Night

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Rock All Night
Original film poster by Albert Kallis
Directed byRoger Corman
Written byCharles B. Griffith
Based onThe Little Guy
by David P. Harmon
Produced byRoger Corman
StarringDick Miller
Abby Dalton
Russell Johnson
Mel Welles
CinematographyFloyd Crosby
Sunset Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • April 24, 1957 (1957-04-24)
Running time
61 min.
CountryUnited States

Rock All Night is a 1957 crime drama film produced and directed by Roger Corman. Distributed by American International Pictures, it is based on a 25-minute television episode of The Jane Wyman Show from 1955 called "The Little Guy." It stars Dick Miller, Russell Johnson and Abby Dalton. The film was released as a double feature with Dragstrip Girl.


Two escaping killers hide out in a club called the Cloud Nine and hold the bartender and clients hostage. Amongst the patrons are a nervous singer (Abby Dalton), a boxer, his wife, and manager, an extortionist, a loud thug and his girlfriend, as well as a small man who can determine people's real (as opposed to posed) personalities and has no fear (Dick Miller).


The Little Guy

The film was based on a TV play The Little Guy which aired on Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre in September 1955. It was directed by Don Weis.


  • Dane Clark as Shorty
  • Lee Marvin as Jigger
  • Jesse White as Al
  • Peggy Maley as Mabel
  • Ron Hargrave as Kid
  • Richard Karlan as Jerry
  • Jack Albert
  • Paul Bryar
  • Joan Camden as Sylvia
  • Richard Carlan
  • Bill Kennedy
  • Len Lesser
  • Adam Williams


Dane Clark signed on to star in July 1955, after having just appeared in a stage production where his leading lady died in his arms.[1]


The production earned Don Weis the Screen Directors Guild Award for Best Director of a TV Play in 1955.[2][3][4]


In October 1956 Roger Corman bought the rights to "Little Guy" from Jane Wyman for his production company Sunset Productions. Dane Clark was originally sought to play the lead.[5][6]

Corman gave the script to Charles B. Griffith to expand into a feature. Mel Welles later claimed Corman wanted Griffith to turn the story "into a rock script to emulate the success of Rock Around the Clock and all those pictures were having."[7]

According to one account, Griffith says he wrote the script over the weekend:

I cut it up with a pair of scissors, this original screenplay, and added new characters like Sir Bop, which was to be played by Lord Buckley, but Mel Welles ended up playing it because Buckley was out of town. Mel wrote his own “hiptionary” for sale in the theatre to go with it. Dick Miller was in the Dane Clark part. He was the little guy of the title. The music was by Buck Ram, The Platters and those people all doing their hit songs. Of course, no songs were written in 24 hours... I would just put down “musical number here”. The girl has her dialogue with the guys and then turns around to sing a song. It was up to them what she sang, up to Roger.[8]

According to another account, what happened was two days before filming there was a change in the schedule of The Platters and they were only going to be available for one day so Griffith rewrote the script in 48 hours.[9]

The film was at one stage known as Rock'n'Roll Girl.[10]

Songwriter and manager Buck Ram offered a slew of his musical talent such as The Platters, accompanied by the Eddie Beal sextet with Eric Dolphy on baritone saxophone, The Blockbusters, and Nora Hayes to AIP in return for having the sole rights to a soundtrack album for the film. Corman filmed Ram's acts lip-synching their tunes on a separate set that comprise the beginning of the film. Rock All Night was made in five days[11] and originally appeared as a double feature with Dragstrip Girl.

Comedian Lord Buckley had planned to be in the film, but when he was unavailable, one of Corman's stock company and a writer for Buckley, Mel Welles imitated Buckley in the role of "Sir Bop". Corman was worried no one would understand what Wells was saying so Wells wrote a dictionary of hip talk for the film.[9]

Dick Miller, a former Navy boxing champion, played the role Dane Clark did in the television show, with Russell Johnson playing the role that Lee Marvin originated.[12]

Despite the short shooting schedule and minimal locations (only two sets), Corman always regarded the movie as a personal favourite.[13]

Quentin Tarantino

In 1993 Showtime announced they would remake a number of AIP films of the 1950s. Quentin Tarantino was to do a remake of Rock All Night.[14] However the film was never made.

Robert Rodriguez got the idea to make Grindhouse after seeing a poster on Quentin Tarantino's wall advertising Rock All Night and Dragstrip Girl.[15]


  1. ^ Clark Resumes Work as 'Little Guy'; Catalina Also Has Traffic Problem Ames, Walter. Los Angeles Times 13 July 1955: 26.
  2. ^ Young Child Star Emotes in Suspense; Wyman, Clark Click Ames, Walter. Los Angeles Times 23 Oct 1956: A6.
  3. ^ Three-Way Partnership Formed on Coast To Make TV Film Series on Gen. Fremont Special to The New York Times. New York Times 23 Dec 1955: 35.
  4. ^ DELBERT MANN WINS AWARD ON MARTY FILM Chicago Daily Tribune 30 Jan 1956: b10.
  5. ^ FILM EVENTS: Prize TV Play Will Be Filmed Los Angeles Times 6 Oct 1956: B2.
  6. ^ FILM EXPERIMENTS SAID TO BE WANING: Systems Being Re-evaluated in Light of Expense to Theatre Owners, Convention Told Hayes Novel to Be Filmed Of Local Origin By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times. New York Times 9 Oct 1956: 31.
  7. ^ Weaver, Tom (2000). Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 385. ISBN 9780786407552.
  8. ^ Aaron W. Graham, 'Little Shop of Genres: An interview with Charles B. Griffith', Senses of Cinema, 15 April, 2005 accessed 25 June 2012
  9. ^ a b Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p79
  10. ^ 'Tin Star' Filming Set in Black and White Los Angeles Times 11 Nov 1956: F12.
  11. ^ p.74 Denisoff, R. Serge & Romanowski, William D. Risky Business: Rock in Film 1991 Transaction Books
  12. ^
  13. ^ Ed. J. Philip di Franco, The Movie World of Roger Corman, Chelsea House Publishers, 1979 p 8
  14. ^ Return of the rebel flicks Fifties films being remade, but with more sex and danger The Globe and Mail 14 May 1993: C.8.
  15. ^ Tarantino: I'm proud of my flop Undaunted by the US box-office failure of his latest film, Quentin Tarantino can't wait to unveil a new, souped-up version at Cannes. He talks to John Hiscock Hiscock, John. The Daily Telegraph 27 Apr 2007: 029.

See also


  • Corman, Roger and Jerome, Jim How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime 1998 Da Capo Press
  • Naha, Ed The Films of Roger Corman: Brilliance on a Budget 1984 Olympic Marketing
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