Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 musical comedy film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush, and featuring the Ramones.
The film starred P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, and Clint Howard. Darby Crash and Lorna Doom of The Germs also played extras in this film.
Production and success
Executive Producer Corman wanted a latter-day version of his wild-teen films of the 1950s and 1960s, and he felt that the best way to adapt to the 1970s would be to center the plot on the popular music of the day. The production Disco High began, based upon a story by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. In September 1977 Richard Whitley and Russ Dvonch, both fresh out of film school, went to Corman's offices, hoping to find work. As luck would have it, Arkush and Dante happened to be in the lobby and were nice enough to look at their student films. They liked their films enough to give them the script, then called "Girl's Gym" by Joseph McBride. Whitley and Dvonch were told to take any section and rewrite it as a test. Whitley and Dvonch passed the test and were hired to write the screenplay which became Rock 'n' Roll High School.
Arkush, who would go on to direct the film, tells all about the film's evolution on the Buena Vista DVD's commentary track, along with Whitley and producer Michael Finnell. The trio tries to maintain an anecdotal train of thought, but they tend to get distracted when certain elements pop up on the screen. This makes for an interruption in their stories, but it also tends to bring light to otherwise obscure trivia. For example, one of the film's more memorable sequences, the "paper plane" scene, was partially directed by the Zucker Brothers, who would go on to direct, Airplane! (1980). It also reveals that Dante, who helped write the story, got the chance to direct a few of the film's sequences while Arkush was out of commission with exhaustion.
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. Rock 'n' Roll High School did so well that Arkush and Whitley followed it up with a sequel, Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever (1991).
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. See it at 1:48 of the trailer.
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.