I Saw A Film!

“That’s cool, Frankie, but solid gold surfboards don’t float too well.”

Little Stevie Wonder makes his appearance in this film alongside Dick Dale, but they can’t really do much for this ridiculous installment of the adventures of dreaming Frankie, and buzz killer Annette.

As usual, a bunch of young people with endless leisure exist around the love of Frankie and Annette until a beautiful rich Italian contessa involves herself in the bland shenanigans of the beach. Meanwhile Don Rickles is the head of a crew of goofball body builders who do a lot of posing in capes and being aggressive about who owns the beach. The funniest gag is the reappearing blue topped blondes who hang around the gym fellows, always passively meditating or bicycling the air. And while the jokes built around Rickles and crew are pretty silly they are better antagonists than the Eric Von Zipper routine. Better is Buddy Hackett with his contessa trying to reconcile her wealth and ability to buy her preferred relations. The big lesson is that despite the young Avalon’s desire to pursue a musical career (did this guy have a musical career?) he didn’t want it at the cost of screwing up his integrity. Hard to imagine a lower bar than beach party surf movie credibility, but there it is.

I generally like to say something about the awful blandness of these early sixties coming-of-age or romantic films, having so little in terms of anything sexual or edgy that you feel like you’re drinking a tall glass of warm milk, and needing to take a break from the canned ravioli because it’s so spicy. Having a lady, Candy Johnson, in a massive beehive wiggling in a fringed dress and knocking guys off their surfboards with her butt thrusts is about as suggestive as it gets. Though the one cute clumsy girl called “Animal” at least maintains a bit of youthful spontaneity.

When Peter Lorre appears in the end as the poppa of musclebound Peter Lupus it’s half cute fun, and half kinda sad how aged the old thriller star already was when I was born. There’s also a fun cameo for Morey Amsterdam. It’s a little silly for me to review these things as a kind of cultural artifact, but I can’t help it. I find these things kind of repulsive as fantasy.

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