Speakeasy and Silver Screenings from June 8th through 12th, 2015. Be sure to visit those sites for links to posts on many more seaside movies -- the variety of contributions is amazing!
Somehow I've managed to go my entire life without seeing a "Beach Party" movie until this week, when I was inspired by the Beach Party Blogathon to watch the original BEACH PARTY (1963).
BEACH PARTY proved to be mindless fun, which was just what I needed this busy week. I can't say it was really all that good a movie, yet I found it pleasant, colorful company.
The movie's more about its parts than its story, said parts including attractive young actors, hummable music, colorful surfboards and swimsuits, and a bunch of silly comedians. There's nary a mature, responsible adult in sight, with the possible exception of Malone's character, who mostly acts as an observer to the goings-on.
The humor of inept motorcycle gang leader Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) escapes me, and I could hardly wait for Bob Cummings to finally shave off the awful beard he wears through most of the movie, but I did appreciate the humor in the nice payoff at the end revealing the man taking a perpetual siesta in the teen's "hangout." Don't miss the promo for his next movie at the end of the closing credits!
Perhaps not surprisingly, given my love for his father, my favorite person in the movie was Jody McCrea as the good-natured if slow-witted "Deadhead," who I found much funnier than some of the comedians! He's quite cute in this, and, as has been noted here before, his parents Joel McCrea and Frances Dee often took him to the beach when he was growing up, so he stood out among the cast insofar as he actually knew how to surf!
William Asher and filmed by Kay Norton.
While the movie is nothing amazing, at the same time I enjoyed its genial company enough to think that the Frankie and Annette DVD set might be a good investment. A colorful movie like this is perfect for those times when the brain is too tired out to watch something more emotionally involving!
I watched a recording I'd made from Turner Classic Movies which was cohosted by Ben Mankiewicz and Thomas Lisanti. Lisanti provided some interesting background, including the info that drinking and smoking seen in this film was cleaned up for subsequent films so that parents wouldn't object to their children going to see the movies.
At Speakeasy Kristina just reviewed Lisanti's book HOLLYWOOD SURF AND BEACH MOVIES: THE FIRST WAVE 1959-1969 which sounds like a good read.
Thanks to Kristina and Ruth for hosting the blogathon and inspiring me to fill in this gap in my movie viewing! I suspect more beach movies will follow in the weeks to come.