Film Screening & Research Seminar: ‘Rock around the Clock (1956)’ with guest speaker Yanniz Tzioumakis – The Void, 2 – 5:30pm, Wednesday 8th June

This special event, presented by the Centre for Culture, Media and Society at Sheffield Hallam University, will explore and celebrate the 1956 rock ’n’ roll exploitation movie Rock around the Clock.

Hosted in SHU’s purpose-built cinema, The Void (Owen Building, Room 123), the event will begin with a brief introduction before a rare screening of Rock around the Clock on a 35mm print from the BFI National Archive.

The screening will then be followed by a talk from leading film scholar Dr Yannis Tzioumakis (University of Liverpool) on its producer, Sam Katzman, and its influence as the first rock ’n’ roll exploitation film.

For anyone unable to make it in person, the talk will be streamed online via Zoom. A link will be distributed to all who register, and there will be an opportunity for those attending online to participate in a Q&A session after the talk. (Please note that the film screening will not be streamed, only the talk and Q&A.)

Join us for an afternoon immersed in 1950s pop culture, and read on for more details of the talk.


‘Exploiting around the Clock: Sam Katzman and the Genesis of the Rock ’n’ Roll Film’

This paper revisits the production history of the film Rock around the Clock (1956), with a view to shedding light on how exploitation filmmaking was practised by prolific Hollywood producer Sam Katzman. Often referred to as ‘the king of exploitation cinema’, Katzman worked at breakneck speed, allowing him to capitalise on trends and fads through the swift production of low-budget films exploiting their ephemeral visibility in popular culture. Made for Columbia Pictures, Rock around the Clock was arguably Katzman’s crowning achievement, not only proving a big box-office hit internationally but also launching a cycle of films that celebrated rock ’n’ roll music while targeting an emerging teen demographic. It thereby became one of the prototypical teenpics of the 1950s. The paper will provide a nuanced understanding of exploitation-film practices and the ways these are determined by the relationship between a producer and a distributor.

Dr Yannis Tzioumakis is Reader in Film and Media Industries at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of six books, most recently Rock around the Clock: Exploitation, Youth Culture and the Origins of Rock ’n’ Roll (with Siân Lincoln), and co-editor of seven collections. He is currently working on books about Hollywood runaway productions in Greece and the major studio Paramount. Yannis also co-edits the Routledge book series, ‘Hollywood Centenary’ and ‘Cinema and Youth Cultures’.


When: Wednesday 8 June, 2.00-5.30pm (Film: 2.00pm; Talk: 4.00pm)

Where: The Void (Owen Building, Room 123), Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB

Enquiries: Please email Dr Sheldon Hall

How to book: Please register via Eventbrite