Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Shag - The Movie (1989) - An Olive Films DVD Review

It's 1963, and four young Southern women who are about to part ways for marriage and college enjoy a last fling together in SHAG - THE MOVIE (1989). SHAG - THE MOVIE was released last week by Olive Films.

Carson (Phoebe Cates) is engaged to marry Harley (Tyrone Power Jr.), a tobacco company heir. Her friends Luanne (Page Hannah), Caroline (Annabeth Gish), also known as "Pudge," and Melaina (Bridget Fonda) tell their parents they're going to tour Fort Sumter and historical houses, but instead they take Luanne's car to Myrtle Beach.

Beautiful but innocent Carson attracts the attention of Buzz (Robert Rusler), and when she develops feeling for Buzz, she reconsiders whether she truly wants to marry Harley. Practical Luanne, a senator's daughter, has been carrying a torch for the conservative Harley and they seem much better suited for one another...

Meanwhile Caroline sheds her nickname and enters a dance contest with Chip (Scott Coffey), who will be going to Annapolis, and Melaina, a minister's daughter, works on a plan to get to Hollywood and become an actress.

I'd never heard of this film until very recently. The colorful poster art was appealing, and I was also interested in the nostalgia angle, with a 1989 film set in the early '60s. I was also intrigued by the Hollywood connections of many of the young cast members; Power, Fonda, Hannah, Cates, and Carrie Hamilton all come from well-known show business families.

The movie proved to be something like a cross between WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1960) and AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973), leaning more heavily toward the former.

The film has great visual appeal, with colorful wardrobes and a terrific drive-in, seen at left; according to IMDb, the film was shot at the now-closed Skyview Drive-In in Florence, South Carolina. In the style of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, the film also has an excellent soundtrack.

Among the large cast I especially enjoyed Cates, Power, and Hannah. Cates and Power were each very attractive young people, and it's also fun to see the apple cart upset, with Cates discovering an unknown "wild" streak, and dashing Power looking at the redheaded "plain Jane" Hannah in a new light.

Gish and Coffey have the most wholesome relationship in the film, and they get a chance to shine in a dance contest near movie's end. The choreography was by Kenny Ortega, who had worked on DIRTY DANCING (1987) just a couple years prior.

The film's story is nothing particularly unique, but it's well-executed by the entire cast. All in all, this is a pleasant "summer movie" which I found to be a nice discovery. I was glad I gave it a try.

SHAG - THE MOVIE was directed by Zelda Barron and filmed by Peter MacDonald. It runs 98 minutes.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG. There's nothing particularly shocking by modern standards, but I'd suggest that some of the subject matter isn't for younger children.

The Olive Films DVD is a lovely widescreen print with sharp, bright colors. The disc includes the trailer, a welcome extra.

In addition to the DVD, Olive Films has also released this movie on Blu-ray.

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this DVD.


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