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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movie That Rock - Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll

Rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry's 60th birthday party (October 18, 1986) in his home town of St. Louis forms the nucleus of Taylor Hackford's lively musical documentary. In addition to Berry, we are treated to interviews with Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, and comparative youngsters Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Keith Richards, and Bruce Springsteen. Whenever he goes on the radio interview circuit, Berry insists upon answering pre-set questions.

A few moments into this film, it's easy to see why: Berry suffers neither fools nor unpleasant surprises very well at all. Once all the words are spent, however, we are left with blue-ribbon concert footage lensed at St. Louis' Fox theatre, showing off Berry at his indefatigable best. Highlights include such Berry standards as "Maybelline," "Johnny B. Goode," "Nadine," and "Roll Over Beethoven," as well as the contributions of the above-mentioned guest stars.

Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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