I Saw A Film!

Keeping in with a steady stream of films made when I was born, I dropped this Funicello/Kirk stinker on myself. All of these beach+party films (Muscle Beach, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo) with the girls in ill-fitting bikinis and shaking their stuff to faux rock, were a kind of indolent fantasy world that was being leveled at the boomers, while at the same time sold to them as their youth culture. When Dobie Gillis’s great friend Maynard G. Krebs even heard the word “work” he responded with startled anxiety. In this film, the youth are projected as dangerous, but it’s hard to understand why other than they really don’t do anything.

I suppose the old cliche of every generation finding the up-coming one lazy and stupid is probably a fact. But let’s not think too much, as this outrageous pile of unfunny clowning is so poorly considered it’s impossible to stay focused on it. What is it with this era’s youth comedies? When you work both “clean” and entirely without any subversion you end up with Go-go the Martian boy (Tommy Kirk) being sent to Earth by Don Rickles (one of those comics who I never thought was good) and trying to convince old ladies he’s really from Mars by waving a magic wand and making things disappear. Apparently the Martians are worried Earth teenagers are a force the whole universe needs to recon with and so they send the most innocuous and doltish agent they have.

We’re treated to a legend, Buster Keaton, in one of his last roles as Chief Rotten Eagle a kind of red-face clowning with a tomahawk and it’s sadly embarrassing stuff for a bonafide genius of the early industry (he’d also be in two more of these beach fiascoes before passing). It’s so sad that it ruins the mood for when Erich Von Zipper (a role by Harvey Lembeck he played in about four films) takes the stage and really stanks up the place with his gang of leather clad nothings. Dorothy Lamour has a bit as a saleslady who dances and hams it up with the girls, and she’s fine, the stink of this stinky stinker doesn’t touch her.

Eventually, of course, Go-go meets Funicello, and since Funicello is sick of the jock boyfriend not pushing the relationship forward, she falls for the ludicrous Go-go. And well, I lost track of all the shenanigans, it’s more piled up with junk than an LA freeway at rush.

I will admit the girls put on some fun dance numbers on the beach and around the pool, if you just want to look at cute bodies kinda dancing in place, it’s pretty good for that. They dance a bit underwater too, and maybe there’s some fair period music, I’m not able to really judge as I basically don’t know the “clean” rock n roll stuff. If it’s not Chuck Berry, or Dick Dale, or at last inspired by . . . I’m not terribly interested.

This thing sells for nothing on Prime, you’re already paying for it so if this sort of archaic/sad/ anti-romantic (no joke, there’s not a bit of “chemistry” here) stuff floats your boat, there it is. I’m of the impression that if it’s got Tommy Kirk, or Annette in it you should probably treat it like a momma snapping turtle on your lawn and just leave her alone.

One thought on “Pajama Party (1964)

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