Friday, October 22, 2021

freakboy on film: RING-A-DING RHYTHM! (The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon Edition)


The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon, hosted by Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry of Cinematic Catharsis!

I offered a taste of horror for the first one and a doctoring of sci-fi for the second.  Now I’m going to get a little jazzy for The Third Hammer-Amicus Blogathon, hosted by Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry of Cinematic Catharsis

Ring a ding rhythm
1962, written by Milton Subotsky / directed by Richard Lester 

A small town has been infested with a sudden bombardment of swinging, gyrating, jazz-crazed teenagers!  These sudden pop-up dance parties have become such a nuisance that even the mayor can’t have a nice quiet cup of coffee anymore.  He effectively kills the mood by creating a law where businesses using jukeboxes and television sets must get an entertainment license.  What will the younger generation do now?

Helen Shapiro & Craig Douglas as alleged teenagers
Two plucky…teenagers? 

Will the disgruntled teens go on a Children of the Corn killing spree or, even worse, call Kevin Bacon for Footloose advice on really bad dancing and fighting for the right to party?  Thankfully no, they do what any teen would do in 1962.  Put on a show, of course!  Two particularly plucky teens (going on late 20’s) venture to the big city to find a DJ to host the show and watch a crazy amount of potential musical acts.  This will prove to the mayor and other killjoy grown-ups that jazz isn’t a corrupting influence, but a way of life.  Well, at least until The Beatles turn up in a year or two.

The Brook Brothers surrounded by selfies
The Brook Brothers on an ego trip.

This is one thing that truly boggles my mind about Ring-A-Ding Rhythm!  I don’t know what teens in England were listening to during that weird time between Elvis and The Beatles, but jazz seems an odd choice.  Especially since it’s less beatnik jazz and more big band orchestra.  I mean, is cutting a rug to an uptempo version of When the Saints Go Marching In really considered corruptive or rebellious?  This ridiculousness, along with some almost Airplane! style humor, makes me wonder if this film is a satire of American rock ‘n roll flicks from the 1950’s.  

Chubby Checker trying to look happy.
Does twisting really make Chubby Checker happy?

Similar to Go, Johnny, Go!(1959) and Don’t Knock the Rock (1956), Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! has a threadbare plot that’s just an excuse to showcase musical talent and sell records.  I mostly enjoyed the performances, with a few that really stood out for me.  Gene Vincent is out of this world as he sings about taking a spaceship to Mars.  The Brook Brothers are squeaky clean cute as they sing a song ending in bigamy.  It was also great to see Chubby Checker, even though I could tell he was sick to death of doing “The Twist” yet again. 

The Temperance Seven member eats dinner during a performance.
Dinner in a show.

Then there is The Temperance Seven.  I had never heard of them, but they stole the film by embracing the nonsense.  This sedate group takes a slow ballad and turns it into comedy gold by having members of the band eating a meal or falling asleep while waiting for their turn to play.  Then, in a truly inspired moment of absurdity, the lead vocalist starts singing in French (I think) and subtitles appear.  I took a screenshot, zoomed in and discovered the subtitles were also in French!

The Temperance Seven lead singer lounges on a piano singing into a megaphone .
One way to sing a torch song.

The acting in Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! is incidental.  Helen Shapiro and Craig Douglas are fine as the plucky, sort of teens.  Felix Felton is amusing as the perplexed mayor.  Deryck Guyler is perfect as the narrator who tells the story and helps the plucky teens get to the big city by simply changing the film behind them.  The other teens and grown-ups do a serviceable job at basically being extras. 

A singer makes a weird expression.
This is your brain on jazz!

In conclusion, Ring-A-Ding Rhythm! is generally a fun film with some truly funny moments, but the never-ending performances can grow a little tedious.  However the nonsense of it all held my attention and amused me.  So, get your entertainment license and shake your bum to this oddball little Amicus production!  (I watched it on You Tube)

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 


P.S. Click the pic ⤵️ to go, Go, GO…

Go, johnny, go soundtrack


In case someone wants to get addicted to my current blog serial…

Haunting Sturgeons, by john L. Harmon


  1. You have totally sold me with your fun review, this does sound like aa parody but if its not with your commentary it could be. Thanks for joining in the fun as always John.

  2. Oh, those rebellious 30-year-old teens and their big band jazz! 😂 Thanks a bunch for joining us for the 3rd installment of the blogathon, and for writing such an entertaining, hilarious review!

    1. Thanks and you're welcome, Barry!

      I had to have fun with this crazy film😂

  3. Sounds like a hoot. You just have to know going in that it's all about the music, man.

  4. Great review, John, makes me need to seek out this film. Lester was a great director…I love A Hard Day’s Night, The Three Musketeers and Superman II.
    - Chris

    1. Thanks, Chris!
      I will have to look deeper into Lester's career.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. OK, so I'm quite interested in this now. It sounds like it must indeed be a parody. And you're right, most British teenagers weren't listening to jazz in 1962. I think jazz was more of a middle class young pseudo-intellectual thing in the 50s.

    1. Glad I could intrigue you with this jazzy film and thank you for confirming my suspicions that British teens were not listening to jazz in 1962, generally speaking.

  6. Thanks for a great, LOL review complete with hilarious screenshot captions! I suspect the theme of plucky youngsters showing up their square elders will always be with us in some form or other, but this one seems like a particularly wild, inadvertently comedic riff on the theme. Thankfully there's always YouTube when the sages who determine what's worthy of a commercial video release fail us. :)

    1. Thanks!
      I knew within seconds of viewing the film that I was going to have fun with my review. LOL

      Oh yes, YouTube comes in handy that way.

  7. As a Beach Party movie aficionado, I'm sure I would enjoy this--even with the overloaded performances. I'm surprised that Columbia changed the titled from the way-cool British original: "It's Trad, Dad!"

    1. There is definitely a common vibe between this film and beach movies.

      as for the title, who knows what columbiapictures was thinking.? If I had to guess, they probably figured American teens wouldn't have a clue what the original title meant. LOL

  8. I'm glad that you decided to highlight this obscure title. Although I'm not really a jazz fan, this sounds like fun! Thanks for the review.

    1. You're welcome and thanks for stopping by.

      Oh, and there is a taste of rock and roll mixing with the jazz.

  9. I just have to parrot everyone else and say, funny review, John! So far my Hammer and Amicus viewing has been limited (almost) to their horror films but I'm working at expanding into all their films. This sounds like the cat's meow and I could totally dig it, man.

    1. Thanks, Michael!
      Ring a ding rhythm is one way to expand your mind, if you're hep enough to watch.

  10. Brit pop is such a quirky beast, but it's so much fun. :-)